A New Approach to Dream Bizarreness: Graphing Continuity and Discontinuity of Visual Attention in Narrative Reports
Consciousness and Cognition 3 (1):61-88 (1994)
In this paper, a new method of quantitatively assessing continuity and discontinuity of visual attention is developed. The method is based on representing narrative information using graph theory. It is applicable to any type of narrative report. Since dream reports are often described as bizarre, and since bizarreness is partially characterized by discontinuities in plot, we chose to test our method on a set of dream data. Using specific criteria for identifying and arranging objects of visual attention, dream narratives from 10 subjects were obtained and mapped onto graphs. The interrater reliabilities were 76% and 91% . Discontinuities in visual attention were quantified by plotting transitions from one part of a graph to another, which provided a spatiotemporal map of attention shifts within a narrative. This procedure was compared with other approaches to discontinuity and also applied to a set of 10 fantasy reports from the same subjects. The results showed that our method includes but transcends other approaches and has the capability to distinguish dream and fantasy reports. To our knowledge, the method provides the most rigorous and reliable measure to date of continuity and discontinuity of attention in narrative reports
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