Understanding Biology, Psychology, and Culture

by Robert J. Hoss, Katja Valli, and Robert P. Gongloff, Editors


We all dream, but what function do dreams serve? How can the examination of our dreams improve our wellbeing? And what, exactly, is going on in our brains while we dream?

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Cover image for Dreams

January 2019


Pages 823
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Psychology/General
  Health & Wellness/General

This two-volume set examines dreams and dreaming from a variety of angles—biological, psychological, and sociocultural—in order to provide readers with a holistic introduction to this fascinating subject.

Whether good or bad and whether we remember them or not, each night every one of us dreams. But what biological or psychological function do dreams serve? What do these vivid images and strange storylines mean? How have psychologists, religions, and society at large interpreted dreams, and how can a closer examination of our dreams provide useful insights?

Dreams: Understanding Biology, Psychology, and Culture presents a holistic view of dreams and the dreaming experience that answers these and many other questions. Divided thematically, this two-volume book examines the complex and often misunderstood subject of dreaming through a variety of lenses. This collection is written by a large and diverse team of experts and edited by leading members of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) but remains an approachable and accessible introduction to this captivating topic for all readers.


  • Provides comprehensive coverage of the physiology, psychology, and cultural contexts of dreaming
  • Explores both dream theory and the practical applications of dreamwork in everyday life
  • Features contributions by more than 75 authors, all recognized experts in their fields
  • Offers readers suggestions for further reading and additional study in an extensive bibliography
Author Info

Robert J. Hoss, MS, is a director, international conference chair, and past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). He also directs the DreamScience Foundation for research grants and is on the board of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare. He has been a visiting instructor for dream studies at a number of institutions for more than 50 years and is author of Dream Language and Dream to Freedom, and coauthor/editor of Dreams that Change Our Lives.

Katja Valli, PhD, is associate professor in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Skävde, Sweden, and senior researcher at the University of Turku, Finland. She is also research chair for the IASD. Her research has focused on the simulation theories of the evolutionary function of dreaming, and on the content and neural correlates of consciousness and dreaming.

Robert P. Gongloff, MA, has served as secretary, board chair, and president of IASD and has hosted three international dream conferences, two in Asheville, NC, and one in Washington, DC. He has led dream study groups, dream workshops, and weekend retreats for more than 30 years. A graduate of the Haden Institute Dream Leadership Training, he is author of Dream Exploration: A New Approach, which helps dreamers to identify the core "theme," or "heart," of the dream, and coeditor of Dreams that Change Our Lives.

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