Dream Splicing: A New Technique for Assessing Thematic Coherence in Subjective Reports of Mental Activity

Consciousness and Cognition 3 (1):114-128 (1994)
A novel "dream splicing" technique allows the objective evaluation of thematic coherence in dreams. In this study, dream reports were cut into segments and segments randomly recombined to form spliced reports. Judges then attempted to distinguish spliced reports from intact ones. Five judges correctly scored 22 spliced and intact reports 82% of the time ; 13 of the 22 reports were correctly scored by all five judges . We conclude that most dream reports contain sufficient coherence to allow judges to distinguish intact from spliced reports. In contrast, abridged reports, which had all but their first and last five lines removed, were correctly identified in only 10 of 38 reports, suggesting that thematic continuity does not normally extend from the beginning to the end of dreams. The continuity identified in this minority of the reports depended on easily identifiable features, such as specific characters, objects, locations, and emotions, rather than on "latent" themes.
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DOI 10.1006/ccog.1994.1008
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