“Falling Water” and the Vasty Deep

The second episode of the excellent new TV series “Falling Water” (USA Network) starts with a creepy voiceover from a character who later reveals the frightening extent of his powers in the dream realm. He quotes from Shakespeare’s play "Henry IV Part I," when two English lords plot a rebellion against the king: Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep. Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them? (III.i.57-59) The episode takes its … [Read More...]

Dreams of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

  In several studies over the past 24 years I have explored the various connections between dreaming and electoral politics. One of the recurrent findings has been that political events and activities, like Presidential elections, can impact the content of people’s dreams. Some politicians appear with unusual frequency in people’s dreams, which has led to the […]

Review of the 2016 Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams

At this year’s annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), held June 24-28 in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, the world’s leading dream researchers gathered to share their latest findings. The conference ran for four and a half days, with six or seven simultaneous tracks of events going on from morning through […]

Dreams of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Psychologists from Sigmund Freud onwards have usually treated dreams as purely egotistical and self-centered, with no relevance outside the personal wishes of the dreamer. Every four years I try to prove that assumption wrong. In response to my quadrennial request about election-related dreams, several colleagues sent me reports of dreams they have experienced relating to […]

Lucid Dreaming and “Pan’s Labyrinth”

This essay is based on a presentation I gave at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on April 13, 2016, as part of OMSI’s “Reel Science” series in which a lecture precedes the showing of a popular movie. My lecture involved the science of lucid dreaming, and the film was Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s […]

Recent Interviews About “Big Dreams”

In the past couple of weeks I have spoken several times with journalists about Big Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion.  It’s a daunting experience to have smart people read what you’ve written and ask sharp questions about how you put together your argument… and all the more intimidating with a tape […]

Donald Trump: The Sleep Deprivation Hypothesis

It seems that every pundit on the planet has taken a shot at explaining the phenomenal rise and mercurial character of Donald Trump, currently the leading contender to become the Republican nominee for US President. A recent op-ed piece by Timothy Egan in the New York Times, “A Unified Theory of Trump,” suggested a novel […]

Cartoon Dreams: Psychological Insights in The Justice League and SpongeBob SquarePants

Childhood is a time of frequent and intense dreaming for many people. Often these nocturnal experiences from early life have a dark hue—children are especially prone to nightmares, sleep paralysis, and night terrors. But children are also more likely than adults to experience magical dreams of flying and lucid dreams of self-awareness.   The whole wild world of dreaming, in all its strange … [Read More...]

Beyond the Eclipse of Research on Big Dreams

On Friday, February 19, I will visit with C.G. Jung Society of Atlanta and give a talk on “Big dreams: Religion, science, and Jung’s theory of highly memorable dreams,” followed by a workshop on Saturday titled “Dreaming as Theater of the Psyche.” I wrote the following essay for the Society newsletter as a prelude to the talk and workshop.  Anyone who lives in the Atlanta area is welcome to join … [Read More...]

What Kinds of Technology Do People Dream About Most Frequently?

The past one hundred years of human history have been dramatically transformed by the invention of several new technologies, each of which has impacted people’s lives in profound and complicated ways. In light of empirical research showing strong continuities between waking and dreaming, we can hypothesize that modern technologies have also made a tangible impact on the content of people’s … [Read More...]

Prophetic Rodents: Neuroscientists Find Hints That Rats Dream of the Future

New findings from brain researchers at University College London in the U.K. suggest that sleeping rats have the capacity to imagine a place they have never been in waking. This intriguing study does more than support the idea that many animals do indeed dream, in modes appropriate to the neural capacities and environmental experiences of their species. Beyond that, the study shows that rat dreams … [Read More...]