The role of the amygdala in dreaming

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Solms, Mark en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Balchin, Ross en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Blake, Yvonne en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-05-04T07:11:06Z
dc.date.available 2015-05-04T07:11:06Z
dc.date.issued 2014 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Blake, Y. 2014. The role of the amygdala in dreaming. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/12718
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Neuro-imaging studies have strongly implicated the basolateral amygdala in dreaming (e.g. Maquet et al., 1996). Various neuropsychological dream theorists (Domhoff, 2001; Hobson, Pace-Schott & Stickgold, 2000; Revonsuo, 2000) propose central roles for the amygdala in dreaming (particularly in the generation of dream affect); however, little empirical research on its function in dreaming exists. Urbach-Wiethe Disease (UWD) is a very rare genetic condition that can lead to calcifications in the medial temporal lobes. This study analysed 26 dream reports collected from eight adult UWD patients with fully calcified basolateral amygdalae bilaterally, and compared them to 58 dream reports collected from 17 matched controls. Dream affect and various other dream characteristics were examined. A number of significant results of small to moderate effect size were found. Notably, UWD patients’ dream reports had a significantly higher mean intensity of positive affect than controls’ dream reports, a significantly lower mean intensity of negative affect, a significantly higher mean intensity of PLAY, and a significantly lower mean intensity of RAGE. The UWD patients’ dream reports were also significantly more wish-fulfilling than the controls’ dream reports, were significantly less likely to be classified as nightmares, and had a significantly lower word count and narrative item count. These results are consistent with an extensive literature that implicates the basolateral amygdala in fear conditioning, emotional appraisal and in similar affective processes in waking life (e.g. LeDoux, 2003; Pessoa, 2010). The dream reports were also analysed for instances of threat and escape, as well as for approach and avoidance behaviour, in order to test some of the hypotheses central to Revonsuo’s (2000) threat simulation theory (TST) of dreaming. These analyses produced no significant results. Given that the amygdala is essential to Revonsuo’s (2000) conceptualisation of dreaming as an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism to safely simulate threat avoidance, these findings contradict some of TST’s central predictions. In general, these findings suggest that the average dream of persons with bilateral basolateral amygdalae damage is significantly simpler, more pleasant, less unpleasant, more wish-fulfilling and less likely to be a nightmare than the average control dream. As such, the dream reports of the UWD patients seem strikingly similar to the dreams of young children. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.title The role of the amygdala in dreaming en_ZA
dc.type Master Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Psychology en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters
dc.type.qualificationname MA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Blake, Y. (2014). <i>The role of the amygdala in dreaming</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Psychology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/12718 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Blake, Yvonne. <i>"The role of the amygdala in dreaming."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Psychology, 2014. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/12718 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Blake Y. The role of the amygdala in dreaming. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Psychology, 2014 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/12718 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Blake, Yvonne AB - Neuro-imaging studies have strongly implicated the basolateral amygdala in dreaming (e.g. Maquet et al., 1996). Various neuropsychological dream theorists (Domhoff, 2001; Hobson, Pace-Schott & Stickgold, 2000; Revonsuo, 2000) propose central roles for the amygdala in dreaming (particularly in the generation of dream affect); however, little empirical research on its function in dreaming exists. Urbach-Wiethe Disease (UWD) is a very rare genetic condition that can lead to calcifications in the medial temporal lobes. This study analysed 26 dream reports collected from eight adult UWD patients with fully calcified basolateral amygdalae bilaterally, and compared them to 58 dream reports collected from 17 matched controls. Dream affect and various other dream characteristics were examined. A number of significant results of small to moderate effect size were found. Notably, UWD patients’ dream reports had a significantly higher mean intensity of positive affect than controls’ dream reports, a significantly lower mean intensity of negative affect, a significantly higher mean intensity of PLAY, and a significantly lower mean intensity of RAGE. The UWD patients’ dream reports were also significantly more wish-fulfilling than the controls’ dream reports, were significantly less likely to be classified as nightmares, and had a significantly lower word count and narrative item count. These results are consistent with an extensive literature that implicates the basolateral amygdala in fear conditioning, emotional appraisal and in similar affective processes in waking life (e.g. LeDoux, 2003; Pessoa, 2010). The dream reports were also analysed for instances of threat and escape, as well as for approach and avoidance behaviour, in order to test some of the hypotheses central to Revonsuo’s (2000) threat simulation theory (TST) of dreaming. These analyses produced no significant results. Given that the amygdala is essential to Revonsuo’s (2000) conceptualisation of dreaming as an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism to safely simulate threat avoidance, these findings contradict some of TST’s central predictions. In general, these findings suggest that the average dream of persons with bilateral basolateral amygdalae damage is significantly simpler, more pleasant, less unpleasant, more wish-fulfilling and less likely to be a nightmare than the average control dream. As such, the dream reports of the UWD patients seem strikingly similar to the dreams of young children. DA - 2014 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2014 T1 - The role of the amygdala in dreaming TI - The role of the amygdala in dreaming UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/12718 ER - en_ZA


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