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Is it necessary for humans to have dreams that only contain things they have witnessed/seen in their consciousness?

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1 Answer 1

People often report dreaming about things that they have not experienced in the real world (e.g., monsters, flying, falling off a building).

With our own imagination while awake most people can visualise many things that they have never actually seen. It seems likely that dreams would be at least as flexible as our own imagination.

Videos, stories, images, and other media might inform this imagination. Likewise, in general, daily thoughts, emotions, and experiences are often weaved into dreams.

This is just a basic common sense answer. It takes for granted an information processing model of cognition that denies the existence of true psychic power in dreams. That said, a weak form of what might be labelled "psychic" or "premonitions" in dreams is still possible in the form of insight that was only first achieved in a dream. More deeply, it would be interesting to see another answer that compared the kinds of creative imagination exhibited in dreams relative to creative imagination while awake.

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This implies an important point: "witnessed/seen in their consciousness" should definitely include things one has consciously imagined, and things one has seen portrayed (regardless of fictionality). If it were only a question of the necessity of direct, real, personal experience with the things to be dreamed, the answer would certainly be no...so the broader question as you've interpreted it is much more interesting (and difficult)! –  Nick Stauner Jan 22 at 0:57
    
@Nick Yes. I guess my answer is just a basic common sense answer. I also take for granted an information processing model of cognition that denies the existence of psychic power in dreams. But yes, more deeply, it would be interesting to see another answer that discussed the kinds of creative imagination exhibited in dreams relative to creative imagination while awake. –  Jeromy Anglim Jan 22 at 1:06
    
Nothing wrong with that kind of answer; it nails down the simpler, stricter interpretation of the question. It's useful to rule out parapsychological phenomena too, as you have. One thought occurs to me (too minor to justify an answer though, I think): lucid dreaming can really blur the line between conscious, creative imagination, and unconscious dreaming. From this, it seems that people at least have the ability to combine basic ideas in novel ways: e.g., I can dream-compose an original melody using known tones in a new sequence. In fact, I have! –  Nick Stauner Jan 22 at 1:39
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@JeromyAnglim I want to mention as a limiting factor that those blind from birth do not typically have sight in their dreams even though their imaginations are able to form abstracts of what people and things look like based on tactile senses. –  caseyr547 Jan 22 at 2:29
    
the first paragraph talks about experienced and OP on witnessed/seen –  ajax333221 Oct 11 at 2:41

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