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date: 15 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that dreaming is an intensified form of mind-wandering that makes use of embodied simulation. It further hypothesizes that the neural network that enables dreaming is very likely an augmented portion of the default network. This network is activated whenever there is (1) a mature and intact neural substrate that can support the cognitive process of dreaming; (2) an adequate level of cortical activation; (3) an occlusion of external stimuli; (4) a cognitively mature imagination system (a necessity indicated by the virtual lack of dreaming in preschoolers and its relative paucity until ages 8–9); and (5) the loss of conscious self-control, which may be neurologically mediated in the final step in a complex process by the decoupling of the dorsal attentional network from the anterior portions of the default network. If this testable theory proves to be correct, then dreaming may be the quintessential cognitive simulation.

Keywords: dreaming, dream, mind-wandering, cognition, default network

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