Empirical evidence of original dream metaphors. Five examples, description of the method, and theoretical conclusions about the meaningful and complex nature of dreaming.
The present paper deals with several topics which entail one another. The first topic is the issue whether dreams are meaningless or meaningful. To answer the question, we decided to study the presence or absence of metaphor in dreams. Three criteria for the presence of a metaphor were observed: first the metaphor is discovered by the dreamer when (s)he answers the question of the interview part of our method, second the metaphor must not be a conventional one, third the analogy between the metaphor and its target has to be obvious for the dreamer and the experimenter. Five examples of metaphors are presented and the method used is explained in details, since our methodology has original features and is helpful for studying other topics. The two main consequences of the presence of metaphors in dreams are first, that dreams are meaningful - an idea that a number of dream researchers reject; second, dreaming is a complex cognitive ability which cannot be reduced to reflecting underlying neurophysiological events or waking thoughts.