Reflective awareness and cognitive abilities in dreams: Implications for lucid dream research

  • Ming-Ni Lee (Author)
    Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Identifiers (Article)


Past research has suggested that reflective awareness in dreams, as a broader concept for understanding the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, can be further differentiated into a five-factor model (i.e., lucid mindfulness, dual perspectives, depersonalization, intra-dream self-reflection, and willed appearances) (Lee, 2010; Lee & Kuiken, 2015). Past research has also indicated that two kinds of cognitive abilities (i.e., remembering previous events and reasoning ability) were evident in lucid dreaming (Gackenbach, 1991b; Green & McCreery, 1994; LaBerge, 1985; LaBerge & Gackenbach, 2000). In consideration of the evidence that depersonalization within dreams was associated with traumatic experiences and some effects in subsequent waking life (decrease in waking mindfulness) (Lee, 2010) and the statement of whether dreams per se have an adaptive function that relies on the investigation of cognitive processes that occur in both waking and dreaming states (Blagrove, 1996), the present study is intended to investigate dream reflective awareness (especially for depersonalization) and its relationships with cognitive abilities (especially for memory and reasoning/anticipation) in dreams. It is expected that the findings would advance our knowledge of reflective awareness and the function of lucid dreams. Ninety undergraduate students from a Taiwanese university were the participants (28.1% females, 71.9% males, Mean age = 19.0 years, SD age = 0.9 years) of this study. Participants were first asked to describe their most impactful dreams, during the preceding three months. Afterwards, the participants completed the Dream Reflective Awareness Questionnaire (DRAQ, Chinese version; cf. Lee, 2010; Lee, Kuiken, & Czupryn, 2007), and then the General Dream Pattern Questionnaire (GDPQ; Lee, 2013). The results indicated that, within the dream, depersonalization was not associated with the two critical cognitive functions (i.e., memory and reasoning/anticipation abilities), but associated with a lack of clear self-presentation. This research suggests that it is critical to further investigate the alteration of cognitive function and self-transformation accompanied by depersonalization within the dream.


Contributor or sponsoring agency
Don Kuiken
depersonalization, dream reflective awareness, dreams, lucid dreaming
How to Cite
Lee, M.-N. (2017). Reflective awareness and cognitive abilities in dreams: Implications for lucid dream research. International Journal of Dream Research, 10(2), 157–163.