The development of cognitive and emotional processing as reflected in children's dreams: Active self in an eventful dream signals better neuropsychological skills

Piroska Sándor, Sára Szakadát, R. Bódizs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The development of dreaming and its association with brain maturation and cognitive development are rarely studied in spite of adult studies showing a close relationship between dreaming and cognitive functioning. In order to bridge this gap in the literature we aimed to depict the associations between individual differences in neurocognitive maturation and the formal and content related characteristics of children's dream reports. We analyzed the dream reports of 40 children between the ages of 4 to 8 years. Specific dream content categories, found to change significantly throughout development, were correlated with cognitive performance. To measure the latter we used neuropsychological tests (a modified version of the Fruit Stroop Test and Emotional Stroop Test for Children, and the Attention Network Test [ANT]) and intelligence tests (subscales of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children [WISC-IV], and the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices [CPM]). Results suggest that the dreamer's presence in their dreams (manifested in activities, interactions, self-effectiveness, willful effort, and cognitive reflections) indicates more effective executive control in waking life. The quality and content of these activities and interactions are correlated with the child's capacities of emotional processing. Contrary to previous findings dream bizarreness and dream recall frequency were not associated with any cognitive indicators. Although in adult dream research the continuity of waking and dreaming cognition has been well-studied, our work is 1 of the first to explore the connection between children's cognitive maturation and dreaming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-78
Number of pages21
JournalDreaming
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016

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Keywords

  • Cognitive development
  • Dreams
  • Executive functions
  • Intelligence
  • Maturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

The development of cognitive and emotional processing as reflected in children's dreams : Active self in an eventful dream signals better neuropsychological skills. / Sándor, Piroska; Szakadát, Sára; Bódizs, R.

In: Dreaming, Vol. 26, No. 1, 01.03.2016, p. 58-78.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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