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Towards situational and multilayered modeling of dreams in virtual environments (VR)

Maja Gutman, PhD
Understanding dreams has been one of the most challenging tasks in science to solve. One of
the major theoretical breakthroughs in the study of dreams was the discovery of the interpretative
power of symbols we experience in our nocturnal lives. However, various studies have confirmed
that their nature is ambiguous as they largely depend on individual and social context of the
dreamer. Today, we believe, it is possible to understand dreams as structures that consist of
various situations where symbols are contextually embedded. Furthermore, with latest
technological advancements, these situations (dream experiences) can be captured, identified
and analyzed in simulations, i.e. virtual environments. This allows us to systematically explore
dreams in larger data-rich contexts, such as visual, emotional and situational. We will discuss if
VR can preserve the dream event in its original spatio-temporal configuration, including
emotional. Can simulated environments help us to improve the epistemic relationship between
dreams and waking life? Moreover, can dream recall in VR help us to mine for patterns which can
validate existing dream theories, create new interpretations and ultimately augment
understanding of brains?

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