Our (Josie Malinowski and I’s) new paper has officially been published today: Malinowski, J., & Horton, C.L. (2015) Metaphor and hyperassociativity: the imagination mechanisms behind emotion assimilation in sleep and dreaming. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1132, 1-19.
And because it is in one of the wonderful Frontiers journals, it is freely available, open access to all.
The paper is a review and synthesis of the theories concerning emotion activation, production and regulation from both sleep science and dreaming. Like in our recent theoretical paper promoting the use of autobiographical memory as a theoretical framework for understanding memory consolidation in sleep, we argue that dreaming is a reflection of memory activity during sleep. Not that dreaming is a separate state, or even really that it differs greatly from waking cognition; with the exception of our cognitions being more internally, rather than externally, focussed.
It’s a comprehensive review of the evidence for sleep fine-tuning our emotional responses and reactivity.
The main novel thing about this paper is that we discuss how memory and emotional elements are broken down and re-organised during sleep, via a process called hyperassociativity, which leads to a reduction of negative affect and an integration with existing experiential knowledge. This can give rise to metaphorical dream content.
Again, Frontiers provided a really productive and helpful review process. In fact this was the most positive review process I’ve ever experienced (largely thanks to Josie’s effort for leading on the submission)!