Recall and recognition of dreams and waking events: A diary paradigm

  • Caroline Linda Horton (Author)
    Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Leeds Metropolitan University

Identifiers (Article)


Dream recall is often considered to be poor, although it is rarely systematically compared to the retrieval of waking event memories. A diary paradigm was implemented to explore the memory profile of recalled dreams over time, in comparison to recalled waking experiences. Twenty-five participants completed a dream and waking-event diary over two weeks. Titles of reports were re-presented in a surprise recall task. Subsequently, extracts of the reports were re-presented for recognition. No significant differences were found between dream and waking event memories in terms of either recall or recognition although some differences were found in terms of recollective experience, with waking-events being “remembered” as episodic memories more than dreams. Diary dream memories that are recalled, reported and to some extent rehearsed are therefore accessible and detailed in a similar manner to waking experiences, providing that they are adequately encoded close to their time of occurrence. The continuity of retrieval processes over sleep and wake is outlined.


Recognition, dream recall, recollective experience, dreaming, memory retrieval
How to Cite
Horton, C. L. (2011). Recall and recognition of dreams and waking events: A diary paradigm. International Journal of Dream Research, 4(1), 8–16.