Discoveries During Sleep: Creative Imagery in
[0.50 hr CE Credit]
Presenter: Stanley Krippner, PhD
Objectives: Participants completing this presentation will be able to:
- Apply the knowledge about creativity from this session to their own dream reports as well as those of their clients or students.
- Detect creative imagery in dreams and determine its usefulness in assisting their projects and endeavors in waking life.
- Evaluate dream imagery and its possible utility for creative problem-solving and discovering overlooked connections and insights.
Description: A survey of the literature on dream reports, both ancient and modern, reveals a surprising number of instances in which dreamers made associations between their dreams and their creative problem-solving processes in waking life.
Examples range from the military campaigns of Alexander the Great, to Biblical accounts of "divine" messages, to literary (Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"), musical (Tartini's "Devil's Trill" sonata), scientific (Loewi's discovery of neurotransmitters), mathematical (Poincare's development of Fuchsian functions), political (Tubman's "Underground Railway" route for escaping slaves), chemistry (Mendeleev's image of the periodic table of elements), and sports (Nickalus' perfection of a golf stroke).
The dreaming brain allows for unusual combinations of images to emerge, especially when wakefulness has left an incomplete gestalt that is worked over during sleep. Many writers have charted the progress of a creative project or product, starting with preparation, proceding to incubation, hence to insight, and finally to evaluation. Dreams build upon preparation and incubation, often producing an insight that can be evaluated upon awakening.
Some individuals have developed the ability to "program" their dreams for creative problem-solving, with various degrees of success. Many dream researchers have noted that dreams are inherently creative, making sense of images that to a great degree are randomly generated during the sleep-dream cycle.