Dreamers as agents making strategizing efforts exemplify core aggregate of executive function in non-lucid dreaming
The study of higher-order cognition in dreaming was guided by the question “What are the scope and purpose of thinking/strategizing efforts as one of three previously identified direct mental problem-solving modalities (Kozmová, 2008; 2012) that some dreamers are capable of using to resolve the novelties of felt-need situations encountered during non-lucid dreaming?” The research utilized previously articulated thought processes of a multilayered nocturnal problem-solving phenomenon that emerged from analysis of archived cross-cultural dreams (Kozmová, 2008). The results, in the form of taxonomy of delimited higher-order thought executive processes analyzed by the method of grounded theory, describe core aggregate of executive function that consists of eight types of executive thought processes: (a) analytical, (b) decision-making, (c) defense mechanisms, (d) evaluative, (e) goal-oriented/goal-directed, (f) interpretative, (g) motivational, and (h) self-determinative. The subsequent substantive grounded theory proposes four purposes for dreamers’ demonstration of strategizing efforts within the scope of higher-order cognitive skills: (a) information gathering; (b) judgment; (c) protection and maximizing chances for success; and (d) exercising volition, agency, and autonomy. The future application of core aggregate of executive function in non-lucid dreaming includes research of neural correlates that could support this function during sleep.