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The Odd Body: Can Two People Dream the Same Dream?

By Dr Stephen Juan
University of Sydney, Australia
Nov 30, 2006

Anecdotal stories tell of the phenomena called "simultaneous dreaming", which occurs when two or more people have the same dream. (photos.com)

It is called "simultaneous dreaming" and occurs when two or more people have the same dream. The dream need not occur at the same time to qualify as a simultaneous dream. But sometimes this happens too.

There are no scientific studies of simultaneous dreaming. However, there are a few anecdotal reports of simultaneous dreaming on the Internet. It is usually mentioned in relationship to lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming is the conscious perception of one's state while dreaming with the intended effect of having clearer dreams and to be able to control, focus, and utilize dreams to improve one's life.

Do Animals Dream?

Besides humans, other animals probably dream too. According to Dr Allan Hobson, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, writing in the August 2003 issue of Discover: "Although it cannot be proved, it is reasonable to suppose that many animals see, hear, feel, and run in their sleep just as we do."

Most researchers agree that brain activity during dreaming functions to help keep body temperature stable during sleep. Body temperature stability during sleep is also necessary in mammals besides humans.

There is also evidence that dreaming helps solidify memories. This would have a survival advantage in both humans and non-human animals.

For reasons, Dr Hobson concludes that at least some animals probably do dream.

Stephen Juan, PhD is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney, Australia. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au .