EEG correlates of emotions in dream narratives from typical young adults and individuals with autistic spectrum disorders

Psychophysiology. 2008 Mar;45(2):299-308. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00626.x. Epub 2007 Nov 28.


The relationship between emotional dream content and Alpha and Beta REM sleep EEG activity was investigated in typical individuals and in Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Dream narratives of persons with ASD contained fewer emotional elements. In both groups, emotions correlated positively with slow Alpha (8.0-10.0 Hz) spectral power over parieto-occipital and left central regions, as well as with a right occipital EEG asymmetry. Slow Alpha activity in ASD individuals was lower over midline and parasagittal areas and higher over lateral areas compared to controls. Both groups displayed a right-biased slow Alpha activity for midparietal and occipital (significantly higher in control) sites. Results indicate that Alpha EEG activity may represent a neurophysiological substrate associated with emotional dream content. Distinctive Alpha EEG patterns and asymmetries suggest that dream generation implies different brain connectivity in ASD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Beta Rhythm
  • Dreams / physiology*
  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep, REM / physiology