Pillerin Sikka – Keynote

Dream Emotions and Waking Wellbeing, Insights from Current Psychological and Neuroscientific Research

We spend about one third of our lives sleeping, and a significant part of this time is spent dreaming. One notable characteristic of dreams is their emotional coloration. As in waking life, we experience different kinds of emotions in our dreams—we feel anxiety and fear, joy and excitement, even awe. Why we have such experiences is one of the biggest unanswered questions puzzling scientists and the lay public alike. In this presentation, I will give an overview of the current state of the art of contemporary scientific dream research, with a focus on emotional dream experiences. I answer the following three questions:

  1. What are our (emotional) dream experiences like?
  2. How are dream emotions related to mental health and well-being (in general and in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic)?
  3. What do we know about the brain basis of dream emotions?

Shedding light on these questions is a crucial step in helping us understand the possible function of our (emotional) dream experiences.

Brief biography

Dr. Pilleriin Sikka is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Psychology, Stanford University, and a Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy, University of Skövde (Sweden). Pilleriin conducts research on the nature and continuity of emotions and emotion regulation across the wake-sleep cycle (from wakefulness to daydreaming to dreaming), and how our emotional experiences in these states are related to health and well-being. In her research, she integrates the fields of emotion research, sleep and dream research, well-being research, and consciousness research.


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