The dream, the remains of the night


Mots-clés :

Dreaming, Consciousness, Hallucinatory Process, Memory, Representation of Self


The term “dream” defines the specific mental activity of the physiological condition of sleep. This experience presents a multisensory quality with visual hallucination and participation of the dreamer. The dream occurs in very particular psychophysiological conditions (sleep) and consists of contents linked to the mnestic activation. The analysis of the dream reports collected in the laboratory under electropoligraphic control (EEG, EOG, EMG) has made possible to assess the differences related to cortical activation during the different phases (REM/NREM) of sleep.

Based on the experimental data from psychophysiology and neurobiology, in this presentation we will discuss some fundamental aspects of the dream experience.

The first aspect relates to the genesis of the dream-like hallucinatory process, in particular to the mental mechanism known as “reality testing”. This cognitive process allows, under normal conditions, to distinguish the internal (representative) from the external (phenomenal) origin of an visual experience (mental representation vs. phenomenal perception).

A second aspect concern “the matter of dreams”, namely the activation of autobiographical and semantic memories.

Finally we discuss a specific quality of the hallucinatory mechanism related to the representation of self in relation to the levels of consciousness during the dreaming process.

Biographie de l'auteur

Miranda Occhionero, Department of Psychology, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna

Miranda Occhionero is Associate Professor of General Psychology at the Department of Psychology of the University of Bologna. Graduated in Medicine at the University of Bologna, specialized in Neurology in 1999 at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Modena. She took PhD in Experimental Psychology in 1999 at the Department of Psychology of University of Bologna. During  the PhD she spent a research period at the Department of Psychology of the University of Toronto. She work as researcher in psychophysiology of sleep and dreaming at the Department of Psychology. Her principal research topics are Psychophysiology of sleep and dreaming and Cognitive Psychology, in specific autobiographical and prospective memory. She is invited discussant for international journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences and she has articles in national and international journals. She has also edited a handbook of General Psychology.