This study investigated the relationship between dream emotion and dream character identification. Thirty-five subjects provided 320 dream reports and answers to questions on characters that appeared in their dreams. We found that emotions are almost always evoked by our dream characters and that they are often used as a basis for identifying them. We found that affection and joy were commonly associated with known characters and were used to identify them even when these emotional attributes were inconsistent with those of the waking state. These findings are consistent with the finding that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, associated with short-term memory, is less active in the dreaming compared to the wake brain, while the paleocortical and subcortical limbic areas are more active. The findings are also consistent with the suggestion that these limbic areas have minimal input from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the dreaming brain. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).
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