Friday, March 9, 2012

Heads Up Dreaming

It has been recorded from the beginning of dream writings that people can dream about events in the future. That is, dream imagery can represent events that have not yet happened in time. Researchers have tried to simulate this phenomena in terms of both lab and home dream studies. Having had the opportunity to dream about a future event, what are some of the features of these dreams and how do they differ from problem-solving or emotion-regulating dreams?

23 comments:

  1. Personally, I'm not convinced yet that I am even having any dreams about future events, even though I have been telling myself every night that I am going to dream about the art piece. I think the main differences that I noticed in the two dreams that I handed in last class were that they were more oriented around my surroundings rather than myself. For example, in the first dream, there were familiar characters such as my mother, but I distinctly remember my blankets being tapestries (or curtains) being the main focus because it was strange and something I wouldn't normally dream about. I think they differ from problem-solving and emotion-regulating dreams because they are almost neutral in the sense that you are not faced with any problem and the dream doesn't contain any heavy emotions

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  2. I suppose I need to objectively study the phenomenon of heads-up dreaming before I can make an informed comment. When I use myself as a case study, I have to be aware of self-report biases, chiefly confirmation bias and post-hoc fallacy. As an empirical investigator, my job is to collect randomized, controlled data and impartially analyze it. I am not at the point, yet, where I can draw a distinction between other types of dreams and heads-up dreams. I have had the deja-vu type of heads-up dream, and have used the framework of dream interpretation techniques to see if there is any discovery. There has been, but I see evidence of my own researcher and subject biases when I use myself as the case.
    What I would really love to experience is a tightly controlled, randomized study on this subject. My open-minded, inquisitive, inner scientist is curious to see such a phenomena decisively come out of the lab.
    What I am attempting to do in the meantime is to use the daily disciplines of meditation and focus to see if there are any differences in dream images. Now that I'm integrating it into my thinking, presumably the network model will assert itself.
    My own experience, thus far, has been less recall of dreams overall when I meditate regularly. My emotions are less labile,and I seem to solve more problems when I'm awake as a direct result.
    I am going to persist and see what the results turn out to be.

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  3. I agree with Megan in that I don't think I am having dreams about the future or at least I cannot force myself to dream about the future. Also my dreams were a little different but I had far less than usual( I think cause I was pressuring myself before I went to sleep). Since I was dreaming about an art piece my dream took place in an art gallery, it was still as random as my dreams usually are but I was surrounded by white walls and empty frames. I think this kind of dreaming is acquired and not a lot of people can do it. I think the idea of it is wonderful and something that could really open a lot of doors (research wise). Though as interesting as it may be I am still not fully convinced.

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  4. I think that being able to dream about future events would have several key features. I think it would subconsciously direct individuals in a manner that increases the probability of the event occurring. For instance, if you dream that you are going to get a raise at work, your dreaming mind might influence your conscious mind to perform in ways that increase the likely hood of getting a raise. Hence, the dream comes true, in a futuristic sense.

    I think there are similarities between emotion-regulating dreams and dreaming about the future, because dreaming about the future may also help someone emotionally prepare for events. I think that should be considered a key feature.

    I think dreaming about the future differs from problem solving dreams, because with problem solving dreams (in most cases) you are dreaming about events that are currently taking place, even if your not aware of it.

    Grace Williamson

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  5. I agree with the previous comments. I haven’t found that I have been able to have dreams about future events yet. I tried going to bed each night and thinking about the fact that I needed to dream about this piece of art work, but I didn’t notice any changes in my dreams. I remember from last semester’s course Dr. Smith talking about the features of “heads-up dreams”. He talked about the fact that these dreams about future events are usually shorter in length and have less scene changes in them. I haven’t found those differences in my dreams. I still have lengthy dreams and they still contain everyday events and all familiar characters either from my life presently or from the past. One difference I have noticed in my dreams since trying to picture this art work is that my dreams seem calmer. I tend to have a lot of anxiety dreams about everyday things going on in my life. Lately, I have been dreaming about my own future and the dreams seem very calm and pleasant. I would imagine that at least some dreams about future events would contain unfamiliar characters or unfamiliar situations in them as they are experiences you haven’t actually had yet.

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  6. I also agree with the previous comments. I have yet to discovery any dreams about future events. However, I believe that it is important to remain objective to the course of future dreams and continue to have an open mind. I believe that a key feature to having a HU dream is having confidence and subconscious knowledge about the future of oneself. I also believe that future dreams are dreams that “predict” what is to come. They are dreams that do not necessarily reflect current happenings in an individual’s life, but what is to come, and they contain subconscious information, which is reflected to the dreamer in their dreams. I have been having dreams about graduate programs and things that I may be doing next year, but I believe that is because they are currently on my mind, and they reflect my waking day experiences and thoughts. Rather, if I hadn’t been thinking about graduate programs, and had a dream that reflected something similar, this is something that I could consider to be a HU dream. HU dreams differ from problem-solving dreams, because problem-solving dreams take place when an individual has a problem that needs to be solved. Therefore, the dreams are there to help the individual find a discovery to their problems. HU dreams differ from emotion-regulating dreams because, again, they reflect current or past emotions of the dreamer. Here it is important for the dreamer to interpret their problems and emotions through their dreams.

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  7. I agree with the previous comments in regards to the key features of Heads-Up dreams. Mainly, that HU dreams are purely objective and do not require many, if any, connections between the dreamer's current waking day events and their dreams about future events. As Dr. Smith has given an example to us about a woman who has had dreamt many HU dreams about world disasters (i.e. 9/11), some HU can have absolutely nothing to do with the dreamer themselves but merely be a glimpse into the future of others or of the world itself. This objectiveness commonly seen in HU dreams is what makes it so distinct from problem-solving and emotion-regulating dreams; where both require knowledge of and connections to the dreamer's waking day events and thoughts. Problem-solving and emotion-regulating dreams are more subjective in nature and usually pertain to personal situations in the dreamer's life.

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  8. In line with previous comments I don't think I'm aware (if and when I do) I am having a heads up dream. I have difficulty remembering my dreams and if a situation arises that I feel "I have been here before" or when you ask yourself "hasn't this already happened?" I attribute that to a similar situation or label it deja vu.
    I think HU dreams differ from problem-solving and emotion-regulating dreams in that these things are very personal to that individual so it is easy or less difficult to make those connections where a HU dream may seem as if it came "out of the blue." Those randomized or out of the ordinary are the things people should be paying attention to. It is up to the individual to decipher a HU dream as just that rather than trying to make it fit into their current situation. I feel like this may be difficult as it may get brushed off as a silly dream or it could be interpreted incorrectly. This would take persistence on the dreamer to take accurate depictions of their dreams and require occasional skims through their journal.

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  9. I agree with what others have been saying regarding their inability to dream about future events, at least when forced to do so. For me personally, it has been very hard to try to force myself to dream about particular objects that we have been assigned to. Though I tried to visualize the art piece, and tell myself that I am going to dream about it, I don't think I really have. I have noticed my dreams being more "action packed" than usual, but I don't know how to tell if they are occuring as a result of me telling myself what to dream about, or if these dreams are completely random.

    However, I strongly agree with Grace's comment that dreaming about the future may also help someone emotionally prepare for events. Since we are able to problem solve when we sleep, I think it is a great way for us to deal with our emotions, and also prepare us for future events.

    In my own opinion, I think dreaming about the future differs from problem solving dreams because to me, problem solving dreams are very specific. For example, you have an issue going on in your waking day life and when you go to sleep at night you might dream about that specific issue and how to solve it. Contrastingly, the future is unknown, and not as specific.

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  10. Problem-solving or emotion-regulating dreams reflect your waking day experiences while Heads-up dreams don't have that immediate connection. Their connection to waking life is before the experience. Heads-up dreams fit into either the same-day or the delayed category. In this assignment we were trying to have a delayed heads-up dream.
    These dreams tend to be shorter than other types of dreams but I did not find that with the heads-up dreams I have had before. They are usually longer and detailed.
    These dreams are quite literal and usually don't have much symbolic content. The dream in which I tried to dream about the art print I was just standing and watching a scene unfold. I also had a heads-up dream a couple years ago that was very literal, no metaphors, a very clear message.
    Also I think that the importance of the message will indicate how much emotion there is in the dream. If you have a heads-up dream about something more serious it will have strong emotional content. The dream I had a couple years back I woke up feeling really disturbed and upset. I think the heads-up dream for the art prints are fairly neutral because they do not directly affect significant waking day life problems. The subject is neutral. Problem-solving dreams or emotion-regulating dreams on the other hand most often contain emotion whether its positive or negative.

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  11. From my own personal experience, some of the features of heads up dreams (dreams about events that have not yet happened in time) are that they tend to be short dreams in terms of duration (and contain limited dream imagery) and they occur at the end of the REM sleep cycle, as in, they occur early in the day just before or as you are waking up.

    In terms of how heads up dreams differ from problem-solving or emotion-regulating dreams, while a heads up dream can contain emotion and problem solving content (not as obvious), a typical problem-solving or emotion-regulating dream tends to be longer (duration, more imagery) than a heads up dream. Also, while many emotion-regulation and problem-solving dreams feel random in how they are organized, they still contain a sense of familiarity or have a connection to your waking day life (continuity hypothesis). Thus, you will find that problem solving in a normal dream will relate to your current life once you have awaken and interpreted the dream. On the other hand, a heads up dream will seem more obscure, and lack that familiarity to what is currently occurring in your waking day life. This would make sense, because you are dreaming of something that is to take place in the future, so there is a chance that you aren’t familiar yet with the situation or experience you are dreaming of. For example, when you problem solve in a heads up dream, it will not be very apparent to you that you have found a solution to a problem, since the obscurity and unfamiliarity of the dream experience will result in you not being aware of the relation the dream content has to the real world. Thus, since you are dreaming of the future, the dream does not relate to your waking day life at first.

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  12. For the seminar activity that required us to dream about a future art piece, I found that my dream was very different from my usual dreams. It was much clearer, and more focused on abstract imagery than my dreams usually are. The connection between it and the art piece wasn't very clear during the dream because of this, but when I saw the piece I immediately knew what features of my dream derived from the art work. Additionally, there did not seem to be any main action carried out in the dream, and its length was much shorter than any of my regular dreams.

    Overall, I would say this experience showed me that these types of dreams differ from problem-solving or emotion-regulating dreams in terms of length, setting, clarity, and in how they focus on dream scenery more so than story-line or action.

    - Carey-Ann Bette

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  13. Without looking back through my dream journal from last semester (I have only had three dreams this semester), I can't really answer the question. I believe I have had a few HU dreams, but I can't remember if they were any different than my 'normal' dreams. I think they were pretty much the same in that they still had emotions in them, and problem solving, but the insight from them predicted things in the future. I have not been successful in purposely dreaming about a future event, i.e. the art piece. Had I been successful, I would imagine there would be more colour in the HU dreams.

    Melissa Van Grootel

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  14. I agree with the previous comments on many different accounts. For starters I do not believe that I have ever experienced a heads up dream. Last semester we were told that heads up dreams are often short and have less scene changes.
    They differ from problem-solving and emotion-regulating dreams in several ways. For example problem solving dreams often have a strong connection to your waking day experiences, however you won't see this in a heads up dream until it happens in the future.

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  15. I personally do not recall ever having a heads up dream. I do however recall some friends and family members telling me how they had a dream and then it actually happened in the near future. They are shocked that they had a heads up dream. Some features of heads up dreams are they are shorter in length and have fewer scene changes. Heads up dreams are strange coincidence dreams that people have. Heads up dreams are different from problem solving dreams because they are looking at things that are happening in the future. Problem solving dreams are where an individual is dreaming about things that have happened in their life already and the mind is actively coming up with solutions to these everyday problems while asleep. Heads up dreams differ from emotion regulating dreams because emotion regulating dreams are very personal and specifically about the dreamer as heads up dreams are not always affecting the dreamer.

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  16. A main feature of heads up dreams (dreaming about future events) are that they may not have connection to your waking day life, where as emotion-regulating and solving problem dreams are connected. You dream what you do, feel, are etc… Heads up dreams differ from problem-solving or emotion-regulating dream because most emotion-regulating and problem-solving dream are created from current or past problems or people in your life. The dream acts as a problem solving mechanism. Whereas dreams about the future, are events/things etc… that have not happened yet. Most problem solving dreams can be interpreted from events in your life, whereas dreams about the future, may be hard to find a connection to your life (until of course it happens).
    Another key feature and difference is that although I believe you have to be ‘open’ to help remember your dreams, I think experiencing a heads up dream requires more ‘openness’ or belief in the ability to have a heads up dream.
    I have had heads up dreams, but again, I didn’t know they were until the events happened in waking life. Also it was an entire scenario, rather than this seminar assignment, which requires you to dream about an art print.

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  17. If I am being honest, I do not think I have had a heads up dream. Lately even though I tell myself I am going to dream about some art piece, I am still having my usual dreams. They seem to still be focused on problem-solving. The only difference would be in relation to Megan's that some have more detail emphasized on the surroundings, however in some sense in my dreams I am someone else, like a character from a television show.

    The difference between the two types of dreams would be that emotion-focused and problem-solving would revolve around problems with the individual that they have a strong connection with. Whereas, heads up dreams could be about almost anything; an event, situation, structure, artifact, basically anything.

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  18. Heads-up dreams tend to be more clear and focused. They also tend to be shorter and contain less scene changes. I have had a few heads-up dreams before, and I found that they left an impact on me upon awakening. They were vivid and easy to remember, which made it much easier for me to realize that they were, in fact, portraying events in the future.

    The key difference between heads-up dreams and emotion-regulating/problem-solving dreams is that the latter focuses on waking day issues, while heads-up dreams can focus on a variety of topics, some which are not even in the immediate future. People often believe that they have problem-solving dreams because their mind is coming up with solutions to their problems in their waking life. Heads-up dreams aren’t always connected to the dreamer in this particular way, and can even be about other people’s lives. There is definitely a paranormal feature of heads-up dreams that is not present in problem-solving dreams. In regards to emotion, my personal experiences with heads-up dreams have been very emotional and have been about specific events in my life. Although this feature does not have to be present in heads-up dreams, I think that it is important to note that it is possible to have an overlap between dreams that elicit emotion and dreams that predict the future.

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  19. Maighan MackenzieMarch 14, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    I agree with most of the other comments about not remembering or not thinking that I have had any Heads Up dreams. Even though we were told to dream about a certain image, I have not been able to completely dream about it. My dreams lately, however, have been really focused on my settings and the environment around me. I don't know if this is because we were told to dream in a different way and I am just realizing my settings more because of that, or if it is because it is a different type of dream. I believe Heads Up dreaming differs from Problem-Solving or Emotion-Regulating Dreams because Heads Up dreams are not about current waking day issues, they are about things that have not happened yet and future events that could happen.

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  20. To me, the difference between problem-solving dreams and heads-up dreaming is that in heads-up dreaming there is a sense of the unfamiliar. When you are dreaming, it usually reflects waking day activity but heads up dreaming predicts waking day activity so you are bound to dream of things that are unfamiliar to you and that is why you are likely to remember those dreams. If I dreamt I was going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, having never been there, I am more likely to remember that dream than say, going to Canada's Wonderland because I have been there.
    When I tried to dream of the painting, I found it difficult because I did not know what type of painting it was. When I did dream about it, it was an abstract piece whereas, I was supposed to have dreamt of a tiger. So I am not entirely convinced that one can force themselves to dream of something they have never been exposed too. I believe that one can dream of things and then those things can spontaneously happen in the future though.
    Tara-Lee Upshall.

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  21. After waking, some people may not even be aware of the fact that they had a heads up dream. Some of the features to look out for are: vividness, unfamiliarity, and a shorter length. The only heads up dream I have ever recalled met all of these criteria. It was so unfamiliar and so vivid that when I was experiencing the dream in reality I recalled it right away and even predicted what was going to happen next (and I was right). Problem-solving or emotion regulating dreams tend to be connected to waking day life and current emotional experiences. These dreams can also reflect things that have happened in the past where heads up dreams cannot due to the fact that they are predicting the future.

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  22. Agreeing with the previous comments that have been stated, I do not think that I have had a 'heads up' dreaming experience. I also believe that if i am in a situation in which I feel has already happened, etc, i attribute this to deja vu and never thought to think about my dreams. I feel that a 'heads up' dreaming experience would be very vivid and memorable. I also believe that if a 'heads up' dream did occur, I may try to alter my individual behaviour in order for this dream to come true in a sense. Heads up dreams differ from problem solving dreams as in problem solving dreams, something is trying to be worked on in waking day whereas for heads up dreams, it is very short and individuals are more likely to remember this.

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  23. Some of the features of these dreams would be dreaming of a scenario that occurs later on in one's life. Heads up dreams could faintly be about a certain situation and that similar situation may happen in the life of that individual at a later time. Heads up dreams are said to some what predict what may happen in the future. It is hard to describe the features of these dreams considering I have never experienced a heads up dream. Heads up dreams differ from problem-solving and emotion-regulating dreams because these two categories of dreams may be about something that has previously happened in someone's life. Heads up dreams have very different features than problem-solving and emotion-regulating dreams.

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