High Dream Recall Frequency is Associated with Increased Creativity and Default Mode Network Connectivity

Nat Sci Sleep. 2022 Feb 22:14:265-275. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S342137. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Several results suggest that the frequency of dream recall is positively correlated with personality traits such as creativity and openness to experience. In addition, neuroimaging results have evidenced different neurophysiological profiles in high dream recallers (HR) and low dream recallers (LR) during both sleep and wakefulness, specifically within regions of the default mode network (DMN). These findings are consistent with the emerging view that dreaming and mind wandering pertain to the same family of spontaneous mental processes, subserved by the DMN.

Methods: To further test this hypothesis, we measured the DMN functional connectivity during resting wakefulness, together with personality and cognitive abilities (including creativity) in 28 HR and 27 LR.

Results: As expected, HR demonstrated a greater DMN connectivity than LR, higher scores of creativity, and no significant difference in memory abilities. However, there was no significant correlation between creativity scores and DMN connectivity.

Discussion: These results further demonstrate that there are trait neurophysiological and psychological differences between individuals who frequently recall their dreams and those who do not. They support the forebrain and the DMN hypotheses of dreaming and leave open the possibility that increased activity in the DMN promotes creative-thinking during both wakefulness and sleep. Further work is needed to test whether activity in the DMN is causally associated with creative-thinking.

Keywords: creativity; default mode network; dream recall; functional connectivity; resting state.

Grants and funding

This work was partly performed within the framework of the LABEX CORTEX (ANR-11-LABX-0042) of Université de Lyon, within the program ANR-11-IDEX-0007.