A Re-Examination of the Interference Hypothesis on Dream Recall

Amy Ruth Parke, Caroline Linda Horton


The interference hypothesis (Cohen, 1974; Cohen & Wolfe, 1973) was proposed to account for the difficulties in remembering dreams. Stimuli perceived on waking can either encourage activation of the waking brain or impair the transition from sleep to wake. The objective of the present study was to assess the validity of the interference hypothesis by discriminating between the natural decay of dream memories and enforced interference on dream recall and dream salience.  Participants (N=42) were assigned to one of three groups: control, interference or demanding interference. Each participant completed a dream template and questionnaire to assess their dream recallability. The interference group recalled significantly more words and reported higher salience compared to the interference/task and control groups. Interference was thus demonstrated to influence dream recall failure.  We propose that interference may interact with dream salience in accounting for much variance within dream recall.


Dream recall; interference; autobiographical memory

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2009.2.364

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-ijodr-3641