Monday, June 4, 2012

The Continuity Hypothesis of Dreaming

Researchers have long since realized that dream images are produced from the dreamer's own life experiences and personality. Researchers have shown that images are often an extension of waking day thoughts, feelings and behaviours (Dale & DeCicco, 2012; Davidson & Lynch, 2012; Schredl, 2007; Steven et al., 2012). Furthermore, extensive studies with normative data have given researchers a pool of data specifying what specific groups dream about. For example, there is a data set for the dreams of university females, university males, community dwelling adults, people diagnosed with depression and people diagnosed with other disorders. Given what we know about the continuity hypothesis and normative data sets, how would the dream imagery of people with depression differ from the norms, and why?

47 comments:

  1. The continuity hypothesis of dreaming states that the things we think about and experience in our waking lives spill over into our dreaming lives. In other words, we dream about what we do and think about. Given this, it would only make sense that people with depression would differ in their dream imagery than people without depression.

    People with depression experience different thoughts, emotions and preoccupations that "normal" people (I will use the word "normal" to describe people without psychopathology). Recent research has shown that people with depression do not feel less positive emotion and more positive emotion, rather they experience emotion dysregulation which means they often do not feel the emotion which they are supposed to feel for a certain situation. Now I am only guessing here, but I would think that this emotion dysregulation would spill over into their dreams (in accord with the continuity hypothesis) so the individual would experience more "strange" or inappropriate emotion in their dreams. They would probably also have more nightmares and disturbing dreams as depression is accompanied by feelings of sadness, worry and anxiety. Also, somatic aches and pain are symptoms of depression, therefore the individual with depression may dream of negative health imagery, since the mind and body are connected, as we've previously discussed on this blog.

    I would also infer that people with depression would sort of take a back seat in their dreams, since another symptom of depression is loss of interest. I would think that they would not be the active character in their dreams, but rather they would be watching others interact, for example.

    In addition, since insomnia is a known symptom of depression, individuals with depression would experience a disruption in their normal sleep cycle, which is also shown to affect the dreaming process. Although this is not related to the continuity hypothesis, I find it interesting.

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  2. We know that people dream what they think and feel in their waking lives as through the continuity hypothesis. In understanding this concept then, we can then see how people with depression would have different dream imagery than someone without depression. Someone with depression may have more imagery associated with hopeless or sad emotions or images that are disoriented and don't emotionally make sense.
    In terms of normative data sets, we know that you could compare the average university student to another university student and come up with similar dream imagery. The same would be of individuals with depression. In comparing the dream imagery of one person with depression versus another individual with depression, this may allow for recognition of a pattern in dream content.
    The reason that the dream imagery would be different across the norms of other individuals without depression, is because of the dreaming and waking mind. A person with depression versus someone without, would have different waking minds with different interpretations on the everyday world. For example in a situation where someone doesn't get into medical school, someone with depression might think, "It's me who is a failure" rather than "It's a tough school to get into". Therefore, in regards to the continuity hypothesis, those with depression would then have different dreams from the norms of those who do not have depression.

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  3. Steffanie PorterJune 4, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Since those suffering from clinical depression experience waking life very differently than those not suffering, it comes as no surprise that the dreams of the depressed are also dramatically different.

    From my own experiences with people with depression, there are feelings of anxiety, fear, loneliness, lack of self esteem, and perceived chronic failure. These emotions would be transferred from waking life to dream events. There may be metaphors of emptiness while a person not suffering from depression may dream about lively situations.

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    1. Do you think that people with clinical depression would dwell on their dreams more than a person not suffering from depression? Since most of their waking life would be distracted with attempting to understand why they are being targeted for disturbing dreams, do you think this would trigger nighttime dream imagery?

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  4. In agreeance with the previous bloggers, I would think that individuals with depression would have different dream imagery than nondepressed individuals. However, I would argue that it is not necessarily more negative imagery. Along the lines of what Lauren was touching on, it is more widely accepted that depression does not mean less positive states as well as significantly more negative states but rather emotional dysregulation. It seems that the most accepted theory on depression is that they suffer from emotion context insensitivity (Ellis, A., Beevers, C.G., & Wells. T.T. 2009). Negative potentiation (increased negative emotion) is less accepted than positive attenuation and context insensitivity theory. Sidenote: Emotion context insensivity is the idea that there is reduced positive emotion as well as reduced negative emotion. So, it seems to me that the dream imagery of depressed individuals would be less exciting or dramatic/upsetting than nondepressed individuals. Perhaps there would be less strange events taking place, and more bland, emotionless imagery.
    -Margaret-Anne Warr

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  5. Individuals with depression suffer from many differing symptoms, be it lethargy, increase in sleeping, decreases in sleeping, poor sleep quality, eat more or less, lose interest in previous enjoyable activities, withdrawal from social activities, suicidal ideation, thoughts of hopelessness, worthlessness and general despair in life. Based on the continuity hypotheses individuals with depression would experience dream imagery related to the intense emotional despair of waking day life, more vivid, intense imagery of longer duration. The intense emotional experiences during waking day life related to depression symptoms would likely manifest in vivid, intense and negative imagery. In comparison to the average non-depressed individual, the presence of intense negative waking life emotions would continue on into dreams. Such intense and consuming negative emotion, thought that dominates when awake would also dominate in sleep through negative and intense imagery.

    Though a depressed individual withdrawals from normal actions and tasks of life, it is not due to lack of stimulation but due to being consumed by negative thought, feeling, emotion and often intense lethargy due to poor sleep quality (intense vivid dreaming and longer REM cycles) and exhaustion from intense negative emotion, thought, inability to quiet mind.

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  6. Another factor to consider when comparing the dreams of people who are depressed and people who are not, is whether or not the depressed persons are taking anti-depressant medications. Bizarre dreams can be a symptom of certain anti-depressant medications. Assuming that depressed peoples are not having bizarre dreams as a side effect of medications, the continuity hypothesis would suggest that the person’s waking affective state would continue into their dream imagery. Therefore if a depressed person is experiencing chronic negative affect (negative emotions), it would follow that their dream imagery would also contain only negative feelings and perceptions. Following this logic, if a depressed person is beginning to recover from symptoms of depression, it is likely that their dream imagery would also begin to change. Similarly, if a depressed person experiences say, five minutes of a positive feeling while perhaps taking their dog outside, this re-connection to a positive feeling is likely to show up in their next dream. It may be a subtle symbol or the actual waking day feeling may re-visit in the dream. I was skeptical about using dreams to diagnose mental health issues, but after reading research for my term paper, my mind has definitely changed. I think connection between dreams and health is amazing!

    Lindsay Dixon

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  7. Because the continuity hypothesis states there's a connection between waking day experiences and dreaming I would think someone suffering from depression would experience dreams similar to the circumstances of living with depression.

    However, as previously mentioned, sleep states are disrupted and insomnia is quite common in individuals suffering from depression therefore their dreaming may be less frequent in comparison to those not suffering from depression.

    Because normative data sets in dream studies indicate similarities across groups, those with depression would have similar dream imagery experiences. It may also help to indicate when a person is recovering from depression as their imagery will shift.

    -Samantha Lewer

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  8. In thinking about the question for today, I came up with a couple of common elements that may occur in dreams for people with depression that may not appear in dream imagery for those who do not have depression. I imagine that the imagery in these dreams would take on a lethargic feeling. As people with depression often suffer from lowered energy, I imagine that the dreams would follow the same pattern.

    Similarly, if the person with depression is ruminating over the same issues over and over each day, these may be reflected in the dreams that they experience while sleeping. Owing to the research indicating that waking day events are experienced during sleep people with depression may find themselves dreaming about things that are happening to them each day.

    It's possible that the events might be living in bed, having a hard time getting somewhere in a dream, wearing pajama's to work. There are many images that could appear in dreams as a result of depression. The imagery that occurs would reflect the severity of the depression as well as how much the individual has allowed the depression to take hold of every day waking events.

    An individual who has difficulty with social interactions may dream of people in his/her waking day that made them feel anxious or embarrassed. Again, it will depend on the extent to which the individual internalizes the waking day events.

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  9. Due to research findings supporting the continuity hypothesis (that is, dreams reflect waking day experiences), it is likely that the dream imagery of individuals with depression would have a sad and gloomy tone, similar to their waking day. Those who suffer from depression may experience unpleasant dream imagery related to their waking day symptoms. For example, dream imagery of social rejection or humiliation may reflect feelings of low self-worth. Additionally, if a specific issue is a regular cause of worry and despair in waking day contributing to their depression (e.g., death of a loved one), the issue, as well as the thoughts and feeling associated with the issue, may also appear regularly in their dream imagery.
    - Lindsey Martin

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  10. One would believe that dreams of depressed people would contain imagery of more sad things like death or injury as people whom are considered norm may have more inspiring imagery or imagery with a more upbeat persona. For the most part though i think the difference between to the is how one may interpret their own dreams. People with depression may interpret their dream with a more negative tone than one whom is norm where they may interpret more on the positive side. Depression is hard to get past and even the positives in life can be turned negative to them, so even a positive dream can be turned negative just because of their additude.

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  11. The continuity hypothesis states that our waking lives and dreaming minds are connected; we dream about what we think/feel about in waking life. I have a question, though, since depressed people tend to get poor sleep, would this be something to affect dreaming? Could the quality of a person’s sleep, along with the continuity theory of bringing waking issues over to one’s sleep, have something to do with dream imagery?

    Depression also has a major role in the amount of/ lack of Serotonin and Serotonin receptors in your body, this may affect the way depressed people dream as well because receptors can be offbeat or damaged.

    DeCicco’s the Giant Compass (2008) gives tips on how to remember dreams. One of these tips suggests that we can help dreams by thinking about remembering dreams right before we go to sleep and right before we wake up, so there must be a connection between the amount we think about things in waking day and how much we dream, so if depressed people are constantly worrying about their issues (probably before they go to sleep and when they wake up), they may be more likely to dream because they are constantly thinking about these things.

    Since the continuity hypothesis suggests people bring waking issues into their dreaming state, would a depressed person not have more worrying issues to bring over than the "norm"? So they may dream more because they have more things to reveal and discover.

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    1. Do you think that people with depression would have many dreams to recall, if their body is not reaching full REM potential? As you stated above, people with depression have less sleep.

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  12. Megan MacDougallJune 5, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    The dream imagery of people with depression may differ from the norms in such that the content of their dreams may focus more on the problems in their lives that contribute to their depression. Furthermore, their dreams may be repeated many times due to the fact that their depressive state is continuing for such an extensive period of time; whereas individuals that are not depressed may have a negative dream on occasion then rectify the issue in their waking life so not to have the dreams repeat. Furthermore, the dream imagery of those that suffer from depression may consist of more negative imagery seeing as how their waking life is also filled with negative triggers that are linked with their depression. Those with depression will have different waking life thoughts and feelings than those which do not suffer from depression, therefore due to the continuity hypothesis it is no wonder that their dreams would differ as well.

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  13. The continuity hypothesis is that waking lives and dreams are connected. The dreams of the depressed would differ from the norms because when depressed one often feels sadness, loneliness and unhappy. Manly focusing on negative emotions. If the waking day emotions and experience occur in our dream imagery people with depression would often have dreams surrounding negative imagery. Dreams would most likely have a sense of sadness. Dreams may also be reoccurring as the same emotions are constantly occurring during the waking day. Also, as stated previously, depressed people may focus solely on their problems in their dreams that are causing the depression.
    -Amanda Edwards

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  14. I fully agree with the general consensus of the preceding posts in that because our waking day thoughts and images are often present in our dreams it follows logical that someone who is depressed and views the world differently from a non depressed person, would also have dreams that were different from a non depressed person. One student also made a great point about depressed individuals and their tendency to ruminate over negative thoughts. I think that the thoughts that are most common and salient in our waking day life (thoughts that are ruminated over would be very common and salient) would also be quite prevalent in our dreams.

    I think the question of "how" the dreams themselves would differ is a much harder question to answer. Certainly, as previously stated by Professor Decicco, there are technical differences such as the fact that anxious people tend to have more dream scenes and things of this nature, but I think in regards to specific dream imagery I believe that each person's own uniqueness stands in the way of making an all encompassing statement about the imagery of certain groups. However in contrast to this I do think we can, with relative accuracy, make very general statements such as how depressed people's dream imagery would probably be more negative than a non depressed person (perhaps we could state more death occurs in the dreams of the depressed) etc.). Also in some cases a depressed person may notice darker or less vibrant colours (or in some cases more vibrant colours) in their dreams in comparison to a non depressed person. I think what is important is that the dreams as a whole are different and probably more negative than non depressed people's dreams.

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  15. The continuity hypothesis states that our dreams are linked to our personality and behaviour in waking life. What this means is that our dreams are not just a random event, but an extension of who we are in waking life and our waking life personalities and behaviours continue into our dreams. For example, people who experience high levels of anxiety in their waking life experience more scene changes in their dreams.

    People who are experiencing depression tend to have more intense emotions in their dreams than others. This is the case because people experiencing depression experience intense emotions in their waking life, such as intense sadness, loneliness, or hopelessness. These intense feelings can leave the individual drained of energy, which would, for most people, lead to sleep. Unfortunately, people experiencing depression are also more likely to experience nightmares, and have trouble sleeping. This trouble includes waking up really early and not being able to go back to sleep, or sleeping too much.

    People who are experiencing depression also have more dreams than others. This could be the case because people experiencing depression show a lack of interest in waking life, which would also be a lack of interest in trying to figure out what is making them feel lonely, sad, or hopeless. These feeling of loneliness, sadness, and hopelessness are then reflected in dreams, as though the mind is trying to get the dreamer to listen and figure things out. People who are not experiencing depression or another disorder can have rational thoughts about why something happened a certain way or why they feel a certain way, but people with depression may have trouble with this so it is reflected in their dreams. Since they have so many of these terrible feelings and feel them throughout most of the day, they have more dreams to reflect them.

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  16. Janine LownsbroughJune 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    As mentioned in previous blogs,since the continuity hypothesis says that our waking day thoughts carry over to our dreams, then it makes perfect sense that people suffering from depression will also be depressed when they dream. Our dreams usually try to tell us something, and as mentioned in the previous post, since a person with depression likely constantly suffers from negativity, they will know that the depressed dreams are telling them that something is wrong, but are unable to do anything about it. Their dreams will likely reflect them being lonely, sad and left out, as is likely the case in waking life. However those suffering from depression may know this, even without interpretation of their dreams, however may be unable to do anything about it without seeking professional help.

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  17. I agree with the statement that was made by Lindsay that, "People who are experiencing depression tend to have more intense emotions in their dreams than others." Depression and dreams are most definitely very different from those with other disorders. How would the derma imagery differ with depressed people would be that they would have negative imagery and emotions throughout their dreams. The dreams of a depressed individuals as stated throughout the course represent their waking day life so throughout the dreams they would be dealing with their waking day anxieties, producing a cycle of negative imagery thoughts worries and paranoias. These thoughts and worries of depressed individuals would be greatly exaggerated and would be metaphase of the truth in their life, causing restlessness through sleep. Depressed people also dream much more then those who are not depressed, for instance waking up early is some what of a survival mechanism for you brain. Why does this happen, that your brain is waking you up early because of excessive dreaming, well this is because the cell are not getting enough sugar to compensate for the energy being used in all of the excessive dreaming. This is where you make way up feeling unrefreshed due to the brain putting so much energy into the depressive state of dreaming (more stress hormones in REM sleep). Depression is in itself exhausting due to the mind constantly being at work both in the waking day and throughout the excessive dreaming mind.
    Depressive people tent to dream more due to them having more emotional arousal which they need to let out in there dreams or dream out. This is what causes the over dreaming, the stressing of our system and the exhaustion upon waking. The waking day life of an individual greatly effects how dreams will play out and with depressed individuals it affects there overall sleeping health due to negative imagery and also the syndrome of early wake up due to the excessive dreaming waking the mind up. Depression therefore negatively effects the dreaming state and needs to be addressed to help with the overall well-being of the mind as well as the well-being of your health (sleep, rest). As we all know if we fix our waking day life issues "depression" we will fix the problems with our sleeping, dreaming state.
    The continuity hypothesis states that there is a continuity between waking day characteristics and dream characteristics. The hypothesis discusses how there is a cross over of our personalities and our programming from our waking day life to our dreaming state. This hypothesis explains why individuals with depression have such negative imagery in their dreams, stress in normal waking and they are very emotional dreams. Their personalities are becoming more vivid in their dreams making them suffer not only in their waking day life but their dreaming state as well.

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  18. This topic confuses be a bit because what is "normal" when it comes to dreaming? i do not think there is a normal thing people dream of and an abnormal thing people dream of. Dreams are not objective, they have to do with your daily life, personality, culture, motivations etc. I know that each day i experience different emotions, like right now i am going through a break up and i am sadder then i normally am...though i am not clinically depressed, is it not possible that because i am going through a tough transition i would have the same types of dreams that clinically depressed people have...dreams of numbness, fear, anxiety and loneliness. Maybe people with depression have these vivid types of dreams more often, but is it not true that we can have these dreams because we all go through difficult times in our lives.

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    1. I agree with you, Mary. As dreams reflect the experiences in our waking lives, it is natural that we encounter a wide range of emotions while we are dreaming. As we transition through different stages in life, we are presented with a number of different situations which can cause many different emotional reactions. You have mentioned that you are going through a break up and that this is a difficult change in life for you. I believe that once you have overcome the initial distress of the relationship ending, that you will begin to experience more positive emotions in your dreams. You will likely feel happier in waking life and the dreams will reflect these true inner feelings.

      In contrast to a clinically depressed individual, your dreams contain many different emotions. Once you have overcome the sadness that you are currently experiencing in waking life, you will have dreams that contain an abundance of emotions.

      As was mentioned in many previous posts, a person suffering from depression experiences a lot of sadness, anxiety, and fear in their everyday lives. These thoughts carry over into the dream world which causes these feelings to be intertwined into every aspect of the depressed individual's life. Unlike someone that is able to overcome the difficult emotional obstacles in life, a depressed person remains fixed on their personal problems. Their negatively-toned dreams are ongoing, as is their depression. They have difficulty escaping their sad thoughts as they experience them both in waking and dreaming life.

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  19. In response to the previous post, I also agree that it is very difficult for a clinician to label various dream methods as 'normal' or a 'deviation from the norm', because of the rationale that dreams are a subjective aspect of ourselves and are influenced by many complex factors such as our upbringing, culture, personalities, etc. In terms of this discussion question, however, the continuity hypothesis states that our dreams are a continuation of our waking day life events, so it makes sense to assume that those that are depressed
    will experience more negative imagery within their dream than those that are not depressed; people with depression differ from the 'normative statistics' set out by clinicians. I also agree with the previous blog in the sense that just because we may not be diagnosed with depression, we can still experience negative dream imagery. Stress from school, relationships, or financial concerns can lead us to dreaming in a negative way that is an extension of the emotions that we experience within our waking day life. It is important to consider what clinicians deem as 'normative' before differing between those with medical diagnoses such as depression.

    -Emily Nyboer

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  20. The two biggest qualities of depression that I imagine would carry over to dream imagery are rumination and anxiety. Those who suffer from depression might have their dream imagery reflect what they tend to ruminate on in waking life. For example, it's not hard to imagine that a mourning individual might have many dreams of a recently deceased loved one.

    Anxiety seems to be another likely dream pattern for depressed individuals. In my experience, anxiety as an emotion seems to be a lot more common in dreams than sadness or despair. This is perhaps because it is a less "advanced" emotion (shared by many animals, not just humans). Because of this, I believe increased anxiety dreams would likely be more common in depressed individuals.

    If anyone disagrees with my anxiety observation, let me know!

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  21. The continuity hypothesis provides that what we dream about and live about are connected. That is, what goes on in our waking day carries over to our dreams. Given this hypothesis, I can think of a few ways dreams of depressives may differ from the norms. People who suffer from this mood disorder, experience increased feelings of sadness, loss, anger and frustration that affect their overall mood and everyday life for an extended period of time. It is reasonable then, to consider that these circumstances of depression carry over into their dreams and affect their dream imagery. Like the previous post suggested, I would expect to see evidence of anxiety and rumination within the dream imagery of depressives.

    Furthermore, I feel that other issues going on in their lives would be highlighted into a negative stream in their dreams. That is, their problems may not be that bad or negative but their dreams may only look at the negative side to an issue. Also, something I find interesting is that I’ve read that some people are able to overcome issues in their dreams, and feel better about them in the morning. Along with this, I can see how people with depression may not succeed in this area as their mood and life is focused on negatives.

    In general, I wouldn’t say that anxiety is the only emotion that would show up in dream imagery of depressives. Possible, like the previous post said it may be dominant. I would have to read more about that but I feel that sadness, anger, frustration and loss would all be equally common depending on what is going on in that particular individual’s life.

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    1. I actually wrote the paper for this class on dreams and mental health, and all of the research I read supported the continuity hypothesis. For example, in an article by King & DeCicco, analysis of the administered mental health subscales found that emotional well-being and role limitations caused by emotional problems were significantly related to sadness in dream content (2007). Furthermore, those participants rating higher in depression/dejection displayed a higher frequency of sadness, anger, total aggressive acts, aggression victim; indicating more violent and negative dreams (King & DeCico, 2007).

      King, D.B. & DeCicco, T.L. (2007). The Relationships Between Dream Conten and Physical Health, Mood, and Self-Construal. Dreaming, 17(3), 127-139. Doi: 10.1037/1053-0797.17.3.127

      Ann-Marie Harris

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  22. The continuity hypothesis states that things in our waking lives like emotions are connected to our dreams. In terms of those who have been diagnosed with depression it only makes sense that the emotions of an individual who is depressed will have the same emotions in his or her dreams. However the dream imagery of people with depression may differ from the norms because of many different reasons. First dream imagery may be different depending on the cause or root of the depression. Secondly, the degree of the level of depression could also impact the dream imagery of that individual. These two examples of why people with depression may have different dream imagery are only small examples of potential reasons for this.

    As Chris spoke about above, there are different pathways for those who suffer from depression. In some cases the individual may focus on anxiety while others may focus on suicide or even a form of depression associated with post traumatic stress disorder.

    Every individual is different, therefore those who suffer from depression as a group cannot be compared to each other like males and females can be. Depression is a very complicated disorder, making it difficult to group together similar dreams from these people. In order to compare the dream imagery of those who suffer from depression, researchers would need to measure the individuals on a variety of different scales in order to ensure that the levels of comparison were as close as possible. This would create a higher level of reliability for the research.

    However, I do not believe that the dreams of one individual with depression can be directly compared to another individual with depression because of the extreme differences in their symptoms and emotions. Another key point is that each individuals can measure their emotions on their own scale, and may not necessarily be comparable to the way that another person measures and evaluates their emotions.

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  23. Based on the continuity hypothesis, what you are doing and feeling in waking day will be continuous in your dreaming life. Research has shown this to be true. We looked at some experiments in lecture such as Domhoff (1999) who studied extroverts dreams, and found extroverted behaviour reflected in their dreams. Another study by Schredl and Hoffman (2003) found that dreams reflected walking life for example if you spend a lot of time with friends or driving a car, you will dream about that also.

    Based on these examples, if one is experiencing emotions such a saddness or withdrawal these would be reflected in their dreams as well, similar to Domhoff's experiment. Same with anger or aggression. It seems realistic that since emotions play a large role in what the depressed person is experiencing, they would be continuous in dreams too. One of my family members suffers from depression and describes dreaming about a lot of childhood memories that are linked to strong emotions and what may have been a confounding factor to the onset of depression. Perhaps then dreams of the depressed occur similar to indiviuals who have cancer or are sick. Dreams of individuals who are depressed could be the minds way of showing where some of the issues lay, something that perhaps the waking day mind does not bring to consciousness. Like we have said before, dreams can tell us a lot about ourselves and lead to insights for things we should change or reflect on in our waking life.

    -Nicole Hinan

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  24. As previously stated, the continuity hypothesis posits that dreams consist largely of waking day imagery, thought, and emotion. Thus it is not a far cry to imagine that the dreams of those suffering from depression may differ significantly from statistical norms. Criteria per the diagnosis of depression includes things such as depressed mood, changes in eating habits, and withdrawal from formerly pleasurable activities and relationships. According the the continuity hypothesis, the dreams of depressed individuals would exhibit things such as negative affect more intensely or more frequently than would be expected in the dreams of non-depressed persons. Moreover, the depressed dreamer who has developed a lack of appetite or food aversions would likely have such imagery in their dreams. Normative dreamers, on the other hand, would have more 'typical' dream imagery; that is, dream imagery that is more characteristic of the non-depressed population. This phenomena is attributed to the continuity hypothesis. One dreams of what they experience and feel during waking day. Depressed persons dream about imagery that relates to their depression, while other dreamers dream of imagery more related to their waking life (eg. dog grooming.).

    Alya Al-Joundi

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  25. People who are depressed tend to have different dreams then the norm. The imagery may be more scary, dark and negative. The imagery would be like this because when someone is depressed they are not their normal self and are more likely to have these thoughts. What you think or do in your waking day life is what is in your dreams. People with depression have more negative thoughts and this will appear in the dream which might not help with their depression.
    -Sarah McFadden

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  26. Since dreams are an extension of who we are and how we are feeling in our waking life, people diagnosed with depression would probably be more likely to experience negative dreams. They feel dark and hopeless in their waking day lives and this would carry into the content of their dreams. I don't know if people with depression generally dream about the same kind of things but I think it would be expected that all depressed people's dreams would be about negative and dark things.

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  27. I agree with many of the previous comments. I think that the dream imagery of those with depression would differ greatly from the norms. Those who are depressed may have very negative imagery, their dreams may encompass dark, negative emotions and I would assume that there would often be feelings of loneliness, struggling and weakness throughout their dreams. These assumptions are based on the continuity hypothesis which states that our dreams reflect our waking life. These are factors that are present in the waking lives of those with depression, so they most likely are present in their dreams as well.

    To further explore how the dreams of those with depression differ from those without depression, other factors of the dream imagery could be looked at. For example, is there more or less colour in the dreams of those with depression? Are there many characters, or is the dreamer often alone in the dreams of those with depression? Do those with depression dream more or less than those without depression?

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  28. As others have previously stated, I also believe that people with depression are more likely to have dreams with gloomy imagery than others. I think that is likely to happen because people with depression often lead waking lives feeling upset, they experience physical and emotional pain, and sometimes may isolate themselves from society. They experience more suffering than people without disorders experience, which can influence the imagery in their dreams to be more sullen. If a person with depression can interpret, through dream interpretation methods, the aspects of their waking life that are influencing emergence of the gloomy dream imagery, they will uncover what in their waking life needs to change in order for them to avoid having dismal dreams and remedy their depression.
    -Sarah Aseerwatham

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  29. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)June 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    We know that the continuity hypothesis proposes that dreams reflect a person’s personality, hobbies, and activities. What one does in their waking life is reflected in their dreams. Therefore, the dreams of people with depression may differ from the norms by having depressive elements. People suffering from depression may be more introverted, experience more or less of an appetite, have less energy, or think about death more often in waking life. The contiguity hypothesis suggests that these feelings and experiences may be what the person dreams about when sleeping.

    People suffering with depression who have dreams which reflect their state may feel even more worthless than if they had not had the dream. The dream may be looked upon as reinforcing their waking-day feelings, in turn having a negative effect on the person. Then, feeling more worthless because of their dream, the person may dream again about the feelings they have related to their depression. Hence, dreaming for depressive patients can turn into a reiterating cycle.

    I think it would be very interesting to look at specific elements of depressed persons dreams including colour, number of figure, clarity of images, etcetera. These dream elements may help researchers understand more about depression symptoms. Perhaps, dream therapy aiding to reduce depressive symptoms in dreams can help people overcome depression in their waking-day lives.

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  30. I think people experiencing depression would, more often than those without such an experience, encounter a lot more scene changes and confusing imagery in their dreams. If, as the continuity hypothesis suggest, we do, in fact, dream about what preoccupies our mind during waking life, individuals experiencing depression, I believe, in contrast to what Lisa has suggested above, would have very neutral and/or sad dreams as opposed to negative and dark.

    Depression is often accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of not being able to care, and helplessness and hopelessness about that "not caring". It is for this reason that I don't think depressed individuals would experience anxiety invoking dreams. If you can't care, what is there to be anxious about?

    I think that instead of negative thoughts and feelings being projected into their dream images, these people would be more likely to a) not remember their dreams as a result of their fluctuating body chemistry and b) experience confusing and sporadic imagery.

    Depression isn't always about negative thoughts. Not for everyone. For some people it's about not having any motivation, or not caring enough to try: even when they want to. Let's remember that depression can be triggered by high levels of cortisol for prolonged periods of time, otherwise known as chronic stress. For these people, depression isn't about "hating life" it's more a result of emotional and mental exhaustion. For these people, sporadic and confusing images, I think, are more likely as, on a biological level, their body chemistry is very confused and the individual is probably also confused as to why they are feeling the way that they are.

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  31. dream reflects the waking day life activity, thoughts, things that are done. People go through many changes throughout the waking life and sometimes the dream can be scattered all over but still there is meaning/hidden meaning to it. The biggest thing that can seen is depression. Depression is something that always has negative thoughts and outcomes. Whatever happens out of depression and stress always provides hint. Poeple analysing this can overcome the issues. negative feelings come to express as imagery. Dream can also be the mixing of chemical inbalance which could create all the negative thoughts into images. I believe it is very important to look through and analysis every dream from every age group for further explaination.

    Pavel Nazmus

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  32. There are many different causes and levels of depression. Depending on these factors symptoms can vary from feeling lonely or sad, to physical pains. Compared people who experience a regular everyday life, these symptoms do not occur often, while for people suffering with depression, they do.

    When applying the continuity hypothesis, people with depression would be expected to have more negative dream imagery. It is even a possibility they would have more nightmares. If there is emotional and physical pain in their waking life, there is no doubt that would reflect into their dreams.

    Another thing to consider is depression can occur after a traumatic event, such as a death of someone close, etc. If the continuity hypothesis is correct, then people with depression could also relive the traumatic event in their dreams.

    Kristin Vieira

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  33. The continuity hypothesis is the dominant theory in dream research. This hypothesis states that what you dream about and live about are connected. Given what we know about normative data and the continuity hypothesis, In terms of depression I think it is important to also remember that people suffering from depression do not experience restful sleep. This may create a vicious circle of restless sleep (including nightmares, intense dreams, etc) and exacerbation of depression. People with depression spend a lot of time worrying and reflecting internally, usually in a negative manner. This person's dreams may also reflect this introspection, probing deeper into negative emotions, conflicts, and feelings of self-doubt or low self esteem they have experienced throughout the day.

    Ann-Marie Harris

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  34. The continuity hypothesis states that there are waking day connections in our dreaming lives. Using this hypothesis, I would expect then that those suffering from depression would have dreams that relate to the persons emotional state. Because depression involves stronger negative emotions and thoughts, I would imagine that depressed persons may have more negative and much stronger emotional imagery than a person who is not suffering from depression. However, often those who suffer from depression also are unable to or have disrupted sleep which would make remembering their dreams more difficult. Because of the continuity hypothesis, we would expect that those individuals suffering from depression would have a similar emotional state in their dreams as in waking life or because depression is often comorbid with insomnia, individuals may actually remember less dream imagery because of disruptive sleep. I would not imagine cheerful, exciting and energy-filled dream imagery from those suffering with depression.

    Emily Vollett

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  35. As the dominant theory in research, the continuity hypothesis of dreaming has helped researchers understand some key aspects to the ways people dream. The continuity hypothesis would make sense to not just researchers but to dreamers in general, as we normally have similar to dreams what our waking day thoughts have to do with.
    Given what we known about the continuity hypothesis and the normative data sets, I would presume that the dream imagery of people with depression would differ from the norms, as waking day thoughts might be at two different extremes of feelings. People who are not diagnosed from depression have waking day thoughts are probably a lot less simple than to what people with depression have. A person that is diagnosed with depression might have thoughts at one point about trying to live life to its fullest, and then have thoughts about trying to kill themselves. As the continuity hypothesis is the extension to our waking day lives, the dream imagery that people with depression might either give them reason to continue their depression, or might give them reason to try to help themselves. Whereas the extension to our waking day lives as a ‘normal’ person might only have dream imagery of their waking day thoughts.

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  36. Depression is not just about having a negative mood...it is about having a lack of energy, motivation, and desire to do anything that has previously been enjoyable. It would make sense that someone with depression would have a different type of dream than that of a person with a normal affect, but is it possible that their dreams would be less vivid, less intricate and diverse than that of the non-depressed individual, because of the energy it takes to develop the thought processes that are involved in waking life? If we truly (as the continuity hypothesis states) carry our waking thoughts into our dream state...then would it make sense that the dreams of the depressed individual were just as flat as their affect in waking life?

    Alexithymic individuals do not report having any dreams at all. Alexithymia is a constant state of flat affect....not the same as the lows that depressed people have, but still....alexithymic people do not emote in waking life and do not dream in their sleep states... is it possible that this lack of energy and lack of range of emotion contributes to the lack of dreams (or the ability to recall them)? And if so...could this explain the range of dream imagery that depressed people experience? Those at the lowest levels of depression may not be able to recall their dreams....but those who are able to climb out of the deepest depths of depression may have more vivid (although not necessarily positive) dream imagery.

    Shauna Conway

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  37. Ashley HutchingsJune 6, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    The continuity hypothesis suggests that what happens in our waking life effects what we dream about. People who are suffering from depression would have different dream imagery compared to the "norms." The reason being is because people with depression often experience feelings such as anxiety, fear, and loneliness etc. These negative emotions that a person is experiencing in waking life will be reflected upon in their dreams. If we look at the "normative" data sets, people who do not suffer from depression would experience different dream imagery. The "norm" may experience more positive dream imagery.

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  38. If, as the contiuity hypothesis suggests, dream images are often a reflection of waking day thoughts, then those who suffer from depression may have more negative dream imagery than those who do not have depression. Perhaps because depression causes many negative emotions, these emotions may carry on in the person's dreams.
    If someone is taking medication for their depression, do they have less negative thoughts or dream imagery? I am not sure about that. I have suffered from depression for which I took medication for several years and had very wild dreams at that time. I no longer take the medication and I notice that my dreams have become less vivid and less strange.
    Either way, whether the person with depression is or is not taking medication, they have a chemical imbalance that would likely cause them to have different dream imagery than the "norm". But then again, what really is the norm when dealing with dreams?

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  39. Jazmine EtchellsJune 6, 2012 at 5:34 AM

    As has been mentioned if the continuity hypothesis suggests that what happens in our waking lives will be connected to our dreaming states than individuals suffering from depression will experience different dreams than the “norm”. Individuals suffering from depression experience more dark and saddened emotions than do individuals not suffering from this mental disorder. As a result according to the continuity hypothesis than would be that these individuals are going to have much more dark imagery and negative emotions in their dreams. This can be helpful in diagnosing this disorder as these negative images will appears consistent with those suffering from depression, where it is only seen on occasion for those who are not. Individuals with depression should seek advice how interpreting their dreams so that they can use them as a tool to deal with their waking life and their disorder.

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  40. Christine McAteerJune 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    The continuity hypothesis states that there is a connection betweene waking life and the dreams of a person. It would be assumed that those suffering from depression would have dreams that are more vividly dark so to say. Their dreams would releft how they are feeling in their waking life. common sysmptoms of depression like anxiety, self asteem issues, sad, lonely, ect. all of these would be reflected in the dreams on that person depending on how they are suffering from the depression, how severe their case is and whether they are seeking help or taking medication to help them.
    The set of data pooled for those suffering from depression will most likely have dreams of sad experiences, being chased or even nightmares.

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  41. Continuity Hypothesis is where there is connections with sociocultural and sociobiological factors that will ensure those who suffer from depression would experience dreams that resemble their waking life. There is a connection between the waking life and dreams therefore; those who suffer from depression will most likely have dreams that would reflect how they feel. Furthermore, those who suffer from depression are much inclined to suffer from insomnia which would cause less dreaming or when they do dream they will be for a short period. Normative data will also help display similarities between groups that those suffering from depression will have similar dream imagery throughout those who suffer from depression. Furthermore, there is a common standard or model that would be reflected in their dreams suggesting that when people with depression do begin their recovery than there dream imagery will reflect that.

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  42. Jennifer Cheznowski 0376917June 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Continuity Hypothesis states that there is a difference between waking characteristic and dreaming characteristics. People who are under depression think and feel differently than those who are not depressed. They do not enjoy their waking life and day to day experiences like those who do not have a mental disability. Since continuity hypothesis suggests that the waking life is reflected in dreaming, this means that our waking life would have an effect on our dreams. According to continuity hypothesis, people under depression would have dreams that reflect the way they go about durring the day. People who suffer from depression would most likely dream about negative things since their waking life experience are clouded with a negative emotion due to their mental disability. Those who do not suffer from depression would have the ability to have more positive dreams on a regular basis since their waking life experiences are not hindered by depression.

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  43. Continuity hypothesis states there is continuity between waking characteristics and dream characteristics. This means that experiences and life situations in our waking life transfer over into the dream state. With this, individuals who suffer from depression would have different dream imagery than those without suffering from depression.

    Individuals who have depression have greater levels of negative thoughts, and have more frequent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Individuals with depression see things differently than those who do not have depression. While an individual who does not have depression may see a situation as positive and hopeful, whereas someone with depression may see a situation negative. This relates to dream imagery in the sense that individuals with depression will carry on their negative thoughts and feelings of sadness and hopeless from their waking life, into their dream state. This supports the continuity hypothesis. Individuals with depression will differ than the norms because the individual will have more negative dream imagery than those who do not have depression.
    -Erin Hillier

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