A model of the Dream-Building System based on phenomenological data

  • Umberto Barcaro (Author)
    University of Pisa, Italy
  • Massimo Magrini (Author)
    Institute for Information Science and Technologies, CNR, Pisa, Italy

Identifiers (Article)


The article describes a model of how our brain constructs a dream and what functions are involved in this construction. The model is based on phenomenological data, reported in the literature, obtained by experimental research focused on the relationship between the dream experience and events in the dreamer’s waking life. The Dream-Building System is described as a cascade of two sub-systems. The first (the Retrieving Sub-System) performs the function of retrieving, from among the memory contents in the dreamer’s mind, those specific memories that are appropriate for the construction of a dream. The output of this sub-system, i.e., a Cluster of Dream Sources, is the input of the Plot-Building Sub-System, which creates the serial plot of the Dream Experience by transforming its distributed input (i.e., the output of the Retrieving Sub-System) into a serial output. Both sub-systems perform complex functions that require a high level of creative unconscious “intelligence”. Issues regarding typical dreams, underlying emotions, symbolism, condensation, creativity, and bizarreness are discussed in the light of the proposed model.


The Dream-Building System, Dream associations, Dream sources, Parallelism vs. seriality in dreams, Dreams and creativity
How to Cite
Barcaro, U., & Magrini, M. (2022). A model of the Dream-Building System based on phenomenological data. International Journal of Dream Research, 15(2), 242–247. https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2022.2.89024