Depending on one’s beliefs, premonitory dreams can be perceived in different ways. For some it is a gift, for others it is just a coincidence with the events of the day. But how can we explain this phenomenon from a psychological point of view? Between explanations and avenues for reflection, Marion Inigo, clinical psychologist and Doctor in cognitive psychology, enlightens us on the question.
Dreaming: how to explain it?
The process of dreaming during our sleep is as complex as it is fascinating. He also has an interest in psychology. According to clinical psychologist Marion Inigo, dreams have several uses:
- It is used for learning and maintaining memory. Here, the dream allows us to process the events of the day. These can be factual episodes or emotions;
- It therefore plays a role in emotional regulation. Particularly if the person experienced conflicts or was faced with complex situations during the day. “The dream then allows us to express emotions that we have not been able to verbalize., explains the psychologist. The dream forces us to confront the difficult emotions from which we seek to protect ourselves. “It is not uncommon to experience a period of intense dreams when you are going through bereavement, for example.note l’expert.
- It allows us to process information, to develop and sometimes to find solutions to everyday problems.
It is not always easy, as an individual, to understand your dreams. However, according to Marion Inigo, cognitive psychologist, what is interesting is the way in which we interpret them. “It’s not so much the content of the dream that matters, but rather what it triggered in the person.”, specifies the specialist. The notion of perception, in fact, is important in the interpretation of dreams and specific to each person.
How does a premonitory dream work?
Unlike a classic dream, a premonitory dream gives the sensation of being able to anticipate or predict a future event that will happen at the moment of awakening. According to Marion Inigo, this impression of experiencing a premonitory dream can be created because there is a concordance between the content of the dream and everyday life.
Do premonitory dreams exist?
For the expert, it is important to emphasize that premonitory dreams are a subject that is debated in scientific literature. “There’s no of scientific proof that premonitory dreams can predict the future”, underlines the psychologist. “The point on which we can agree is that a dream qualified as premonitory is an impression and an interpretation of the dreamer.she adds.
Premonitory dreams and nightmares: in which phase of sleep do they occur?
Sleep is broken down into three main phases: light slow-wave sleep, deep slow-wave sleep and paradoxical sleep. It is during this last phase that we dream the most. Dreams are more abundant, richer and more colorful.
From a physiological point of view, dreams respond to neuronal activation. Thanks to adapted equipment, such as the electroencephalogram, we can see that different regions of the brain are involved in dreams. “It is interesting to note that these areas are the same as those stimulated during the waking state., underlines the Doctor in cognitive psychology. “The brain does not differentiate between experiencing an emotion in a dream or in everyday reality. These are the same areas that react, including the amygdala, next to the hippocampus.adds the specialist.
How does a premonitory dream happen?
There is no difference in process between a classic dream and a premonitory dream. Both occur mainly during the paradoxical phase of sleep. Which, however, does not mean that the individual does not dream during the other phases.
As mentioned previously, it is the dreamer’s interpretation that makes a dream potentially premonitory. “This interpretation is often associated with strong emotions when becoming aware of the dream.”underlines Marion Inigo, video psychologist.
Theoretical hypotheses: what possible explanations for the premonitory dream?
It should first be noted that the perception and attitude of the dreamer towards dreams of a premonitory nature varies depending on the beliefs, education received and/or spiritual approach of each person.
Having premonitory dreams: is it a gift?
This is a hypothesis that falls within the parapsychological sphere. “For a person who does not pay special attention to it, it will simply be a classic dream. On the other hand, if the individual believes in magic and the mysterious, the interpretation given may be that of a premonitory dream.notes the Doctor in cognitive psychology.
Impression of déjà vu, visions, dream coming true, etc. Causes that can explain premonitory dreams
Whether psychological or psychoanalytic, theoretical hypotheses approach premonitory dreams from different prisms:
- The unconscious: one of the pioneers of dream interpretation is the well-known Sigmund Freud, he gave the definition that the unconscious could betray the dreamer by confronting him with unspeakable desires. “Currently, we can make the link between neuroscience and psychoanalysis, because there is a difference between the dream experienced in sleep and the one we remember.”underlines Marion Inigo, psychologist in Montauban.
- Cognitive biases:
– selective bias : when a person has the impression of having a premonitory dream, they will attach value and importance to it, and therefore, remember it better.
– confirmation bias : when we remember a dream, it is kept in memory to possibly look for coincidences or concordances which would go in the direction of the dream when waking up.
– through illusory attention : it is a bias which pushes us to attribute events we experience to internal rather than external causes. As a result, people who believe in premonitory dreams are more likely to attribute events that occur to their dreams rather than to it being a coincidence.
Premonitory dream and intuition: is there a link?
As a cognitive psychologist, Marion Inigo sees intuition as a thought mechanism. According to this approach to psychology, and more precisely according to the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, humans have two functioning thought processes:
- a first system automatic and lively, where one can find intuition.
- a second, slower system : here, the reflection is more thoughtful.
In the first system linked to intuition, there is a more emotional dimension, which instills the fact of knowing where to go, what decision to make, whether we can trust a third party or not, etc. However, in the premonitory dream, we find this emotional aspect, which pushes us to action. It is on this point, still according to cognitivist psychology, that the link between premonitory dreams and intuition can be made.
To conclude, let us remember that there are several approaches to psychology, including that of psychoanalytic orientation. Other theoretical hypotheses therefore deserve to be explored on this disturbing phenomenon, which is dreams.