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date: 23 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The fleeting dream images of sleep onset afford a rare glimpse at how experience is transformed from the perceptually grounded consciousness of wakefulness to the hallucinatory simulations of dreaming. These images, or microdreams, are briefer, simpler, and more accessible to phenomenological scrutiny than are the long REM dreams traditionally recorded in the sleep lab. This chapter shows that a focus on microdream phenomenology has thus far contributed to (1) developing a classification system for dreaming’s core phenomenology (Windt`s oneiragogic spectrum), (2) establishing a structure for assessing dreaming’s multiple memory inputs (multi-temporal memory sources), (3) furthering Silberer’s project for sleep onset imagery by uncovering two new types of imagery (autosensory imagery, exosensory imagery), and (4) providing a larger framework for explaining some microdreaming processes (multisensory integration approach). A continued focus on microdream neurophenomenology may help resolve outstanding questions about dreaming’s core features, neurophysiological correlates, and memory sources.

Keywords: sleep onset, dreaming, neurophenomenology, microdream, neurophysiology, memory

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