Développement et validation d'une théorie de la fonction adaptative biologique des rêves

Authors: Lemyre, Alexandre
Advisor: Vallières, Annie; Bastien, Célyne
Abstract: Several functions have been attributed to dreaming. Existing literature reviews on the theories of the function of dreaming are not exhaustive and contain few criticisms. The introduction of this thesis fills this gap in the literature by offering a critical review of contemporary theories of the function of dreaming. In light of this introduction, all existing theories present important limitations. The first chapter of this thesis is an article presenting a new theory of the function of dreaming: the Feeling Priming Theory (FTP). According to the FPT, the function of dreaming is to favor the motivation to avoid aversive anticipated events and to approach gratifying anticipated events. More specifically, it is suggested that a component of anticipated emotions – anticipated feelings – is reproduced in dreams. Upon awakening and during the day, these anticipated feelings would remain (pre)activated (primed) in memory. Consequently, anticipated emotions would exert a greater influence on avoidance and approach behaviors, mainly through an increase in the intensity of anticipatory feelings (i.e., feelings of fear or hope/desire). The second chapter of this thesis is an article presenting the development and use of a protocol aimed at testing hypotheses from the FPT. Sixty-four participants completed a logbook at home for a period that included two days with dream recall. Data were collected after waking up, after the morning routine, and before the bedtime routine. Participants reported their anticipated events, their degree of fear, desire and control over the anticipated events, the behaviors and decisions they adopted in relation to the anticipated events, the extent to which they thought about the anticipated events, and the similarity between their anticipated feelings and their dream feelings. The hypotheses were tested using linear and binary logistic mixed models. Fear toward an aversive anticipated event positively predicts the probability that the negative anticipated feeling associated with this anticipated event be reproduced in a dream. Experiencing this negative feeling in a dream positively predicts fear toward the aversive anticipated event on the next day, which in turn positively predicts the occurrence of an avoidance behavior. Furthermore, desire toward a gratifying anticipated event positively predicts the probability that the positive anticipated feeling associated with this anticipated event be reproduced in a dream. However, experiencing this positive feeling in a dream does not predict desire toward the gratifying anticipated event on the next day. Overall, the results from the validation study support part of the FPT. The conclusion of this thesis reviews the strengths and limitations of the proposed theory and the validation study. In the light of these strengths and limitations, potential avenues of research are explored. It is suggested that the FPT could serve as a basis for the development of a cognitive theory of dream production. Moreover, the empirical study could be replicated in a laboratory setting, which would allow to test the FPT in a controlled environment. Finally, the possibility of developing a new psychological treatment for nightmares based on the FPT is discussed. In summary, this thesis constitutes a major contribution to the dream literature. It presents a critical review of contemporary theories of the function of dreaming, proposes the FPT as an alternative to emotion regulation theories of dreaming, reports the results of an empirical study aimed at testing several hypotheses from the FPT, and demonstrates the relevance of this work for future theoretical, empirical, and clinical research.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 19 July 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/69661
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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