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Study finds novel evidence that dreams reflect multiple memories, anticipate future events

Last updated June 9, 2021

By Tina Underwood

New research led by Furman University cognitive neuroscience professor Erin Wamsley has received play in numerous media outlets, including Medical Xpress. Her research, which was published in the journal Sleep, shows that dreams draw from past experiences, and simultaneously, originate from planned future events.

Forty-eight students participated in the study in which researchers awakened students in the Furman Sleep Lab at multiple key intervals to assess dreams. “We present new evidence that dreams reflect a memory-processing function. Although it has long been known that dreams incorporate fragments of past experience, our data suggest that dreams also anticipate probable future events,” said Wamsley, an associate professor in Furman’s Department of Psychology.

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