In Search of Dreams

Results of Experimental Dream Research

By Inge Strauch & Barbara Meier
Translated by Martin Ebon

Subjects: Dreams
Series: SUNY series in Dream Studies
Paperback : 9780791427606, 252 pages, January 1996
Hardcover : 9780791427590, 252 pages, January 1996

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Table of contents


Preface and Acknowledgments

1. An Approach to the Subject of Dreams


What Features Make Dreams Particularly Interesting?
Defining a Dream
"Avenues" to the Dream
Historical Development of Dream Research


2. Methods of Dream Sampling


Collecting Spontaneously Remembered Dreams
Eliciting Dreams by Awakening
Dreams Collected in the Laboratory
Experimental Impact on Dreams


3. Methods of Dream Evaluation


Evaluating Formal Dream Characteristics
Determining Content and Qualitative Dream Attributes
Reliability of Dream Evaluation


4. Recalling Dreams


Physiological Elements of Dream Recall
Psychological Elements of Dream Memory
Qualities of Dream Memory
Complexity of Dream Memory


5. The Language of Dreams


Perceptions in Dreams
Thinking in Dreams
Emotions in Dreams
The Bizarre in Dreams


6. The Content of Dreams


Variety of Dream Contents
The Role of the Dreamer
Dream Scenarios


7. Dreams in Different Sleep Stages


Dreams During Sleep Onset
Non-REM Dreaming
REM Dreams
Similarities and Differences


8. Sources of Dreams


Temporal References in Dreams
Impact of Pre-Sleep Experiences on the Dream
Stimulus Incorporation into Dreams


9. Dreamers and Their Worlds


Children's Dreams
'Female' and 'Male' Dreams


10. Dreams and Waking: A Continuity


Interrelatedness of Dreams of the Same Night
Waking Fantasies and Dreams
Awake and Dreaming: Individual Continuity


11. In Search of Dreams: A Summing Up



A scientifically sound and thoroughly comprehensible account of what laboratory study has revealed about dreams and dreaming.


This book presents an overview of the methods and results of laboratory dream research: the collection of dreams under various conditions; different methods of dream evaluation; physiological and psychological factors of dream recall; memory sources of dreams; and dreams in different sleep stages.

The main focus is to describe the phenomenology of dreams. What are the common features of dreaming with regard to images, thoughts, and emotions? Where does the dream take place and who enters the dream "theatre"? In what kinds of scenarios do dreamers find themselves?

The authors' evidence is based on dreams collected in their sleep laboratory. Results of analysis of 500 REM dreams are discussed with reference to sex differences, children's dreams, and waking fantasies.

Inge Strauch is at the Psychologisches Institut der Universität Zürich in Switzerland. Barbara Meier is at the Psychologisches Institut der Universität Zürich in Switzerland.


"It is wonderful to have this excellent account of laboratory dream research with Swiss dreamers available in English. Not only does it present new and interesting findings, but it supports the conclusions from American and Canadian laboratories on dreams and dreaming as well." -- G. William Domhoff, University of California, Santa Cruz, author of The Mystique of Dreams

"This work contains a careful presentation of the most important new insights into dreams and dream processes. It is a standard work for the study of dreaming, and, for the future, provides an essential basis to any scientific study of the dream...The book is not only accessible, but offers understanding to the non-specialized reader, both in style and illustrations." — Wolfgang Leuschner, Psyche