An investigation of a dual-processing hypothesis of lucid dreaming

Andreea E. Rizea, Josie E. Malinowski


Neuroimaging research has isolated the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) as a brain structure associated with lucid dreaming, indicating that higher-order executive functions are involved in the onset of lucid dreaming. The DLPFC has also been implicated in the onset of Type 2 thinking. As such, a hypothetical link exists between Type 2 thinking and lucid dreaming, moderated by DLPFC activity. The present study investigated this potential link, hypothesising that lucid dreaming frequency would be related to Type 2 thinking. In Study 1, participants (N=103) reported their lucid dream frequency (LDF) retrospectively, and completed the Cognitive Reflections Test (CRT), which measures Type 2 thinking, as well as several other measures that have previously been found to correlate with LDF.Sinceretrospective estimates may be prone to memory errors and biases, a second study investigating LDF using prospective measures was conducted. In Study 2, participants (N=30) retrospectively estimated their LDF and also prospectively reported their LDF using dream diaries for 1 month; these participants also completed the CRT, a syllogisms test, and several other measures that have previously been found to correlate with LDF. No evidence was found for a dual-processing hypothesis of lucid dreaming:in Study 1, CRT scores did not correlate with retrospective LDF, and in Study 2, neither prospective nor retrospective LDF correlated with either CRT or syllogisms test scores. Significant relationships were found, however, between previously identified correlates of LDF: dream recall frequency; the personality trait “openness to experience”; and internal locus of control. It was additionally found that retrospective and prospective estimates of LDF correlated very highly, indicating the retrospective estimate of LDF is a valid measure.


lucid dreams, dream recall, locus of control, openness to experience, dual-processing theory, Cognitive Reflection Test, syllogisms, Type 2 thinking

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