Dream content analysis in persons with an autism spectrum disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Apr;38(4):634-43. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0431-z. Epub 2007 Aug 8.


Dream questionnaires were completed by 28 young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) participants. Seventy-nine typically developed individual served as the control group. In a subset of 17 persons with ASD and 11 controls matched for verbal IQ, dream narratives were obtained following REM sleep awakenings in a sleep laboratory. Questionnaires revealed that participants with ASD, compared to controls, had fewer recollections of dreaming, fewer bad dreams and fewer emotions. In the sleep laboratory, dream content narratives following REM sleep awakenings were shorter in ASD participants than in controls. ASD participants also reported fewer settings, objects, characters, social interactions, activities, and emotions. It is concluded that these characteristics of dreaming in ASD may reflect neurocognitive dimensions specific to this condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Asperger Syndrome / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Dreams*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Polysomnography
  • Semantics*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires