Why are we more creative when dreaming

Everybody dreams, and I'm trying to understand if there is a cause and effect relationship between ability to dream and recall dreams and creativity as an adult.

I would define the kind of creativity I'm talking about as creating art, designing products, inventing and making original stuff. These people are at the upper end of a bell curve of creativity or are outside the curve completely (extraordinary creative genius). This is in contrast to ordinary people who would be somewhere towards the middle of the creativity bell curve.

The kind of dreaming I'm talking about is long, clear or multi episode dreams lasting over 5 minutes as opposed to fragments and vague impressions of activity. Let's say 2+ dreams per night.

  • Do highly creative people dream more and recall more than average or analytical people?
  • Does active interest in dreams as a child or teenager(like keeping a dream journal) influences creativity as an adult?

I found some evidence to support that dreams and creativity are related, particularly in visual fields, like graphic design:

Barrett also interviewed modern artists and scientists about their use of their dreams, documenting dramatic anecdotes including Nobel Prizes and MacArthur 'genius grants' whose ideas originated in dreams.[6] Her research concludes that while anything—math, musical composition, business dilemmas—may get solved during dreaming, the two areas dreams are especially likely to help are 1) anything where vivid visualization contributes to the solution, whether in artistic design or invention of 3-D technological devices and 2) any problem where the solution lies in thinking outside the box—i.e. where the person is stuck because the conventional wisdom on how to approach the problem is wrong.

Another example from an overview of the modern theory of dream content:

Second, dreams cannot be the guardians of sleep if there are people who can sleep even though they do not dream, and we now have reason to believe there are such people, including young children (Foulkes, 1999), leucotomized schizophrenics (Jus et al., 1973), neurology patients suffering from parietal lobe injuries (Solms, 1997), and perhaps normal adults with weak visuospatial skills (Butler & Watson, 1985).

Another example comes from Nancy Andersen's book "the Creative Brain", in which she suggests that highly creative people, like Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, Virgina Wolf, etc may be capable of thinking in a very different ways from ordinary people. She suggests this may be due to increased or different communication between their centers of the brain responsible for combining information and sensory input. It appears to me that dreaming is very related to this kind of information assimilation.

Another example from Domhoff's neurocognitive theory of dreaming. Spatial construction is required for "traditional" creative venues, like painting, sculpture and architecture.

For example, the complete loss of dreaming in adults due to injuries to either inferior parietal lobe, when placed alongside the finding that increased dream reporting in young children correlates with visuospatial skills, suggests that the ability to dream in children depends in part upon the development of the neural network for spatial construction centered in the parietal lobes.

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