The day-residue and dream-lag effects: a literature review and limited replication of two temporal effects in dream formation
dreaming, day residue, dream-lag effect, chronobiology, infradian rhythm, autobiographical memory
Several studies point to the existence of two types of effects which describe the temporal relationship between daytime experiences and nighttime dreams: the day-residue effect, i.e., the incorporation into dreams of material from the immediately preceding day, and the dream-lag effect, i.e., the incorporation of material into dreams of material from 6–8 days prior. A review of previous· research suggests that the proportion of dreams containing day residues is about twice that for events occurring 2 days prior to the dream, approximately 65–70% of reports. Much less research supports the dream-lag effect, however. In an attempt to replicate previous demonstrations of these effects, 84 undergraduates were asked to keep home records of their dreams and important daily events for a 14-day period. Dreams were then judged for the extent to which they incorporated these daily events. Results clearly supported the day-residue effect, but gave inconclusive results for the dream-lag effect. At present, imprecision in report collection and other conservative features of the experimental design, as well as findings from previous studies, do not warrant complete rejection of the notion of a dream-lag effect.
Nielsen, T. A., & Powell, R. A. (1992). The day-residue and dream-lag effects: a literature review and limited replication of two temporal effects in dream formation. Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams, 2, 67-77.
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