Theories of dreaming and lucid dreaming: An integrative review towards sleep, dreaming and consciousness
The present review gives an overview on common theories of dreaming with a specific emphasis on how they are able to explain lucid dreaming. The theories are grouped either to such that describe structural or biological processes of dreams or to such that describe evolutionary and adaptive functions of dreams. This overview shows that none of the theories outlined is fully capable of explaining neither non-lucid dreaming nor lucid dreaming. With respect to the first group, the concept of “protoconsciousness” is the theory that at best explains lucid dreaming. With respect to theories with an evolutionary and adaptive function of dreams, those theories, that stress the problem solving or simulation functions of dreams are more suited to explain lucid dreaming. Further, aspects that induce or amplify lucidity and the neural mechanisms that may be involved in lucid dreaming are described.