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Labile sleep—wake cycles may promote the intrusion of dreamlike experiences into waking consciousness that can lead to DRC and foster the feeling of depersonalization, which is a dissociative symptom. They also have an adverse effect on memory, thus favoring the creation of false memories van der Kloet et al. Individuals who report sleep disturbances score high on dissociative scales, fantasy proneness a tendency for deep and long-standing involvement in fantasy and imagination; Lynn and Rhue, , p.

Taken together, the above relationships appear to support our hypothesis that BPD patients are likely to experience DRC. Persons diagnosed with BPD have a stronger tendency toward dissociative symptoms than non-clinical population and individuals who suffer from depression or schizophrenia Merckelbach et al.

The occurrence of dissociative symptoms during the course of BPD may be associated with childhood traumatic events. According to one of the theories of the etiology of BPD, this personality disorder develops in individuals who report that traumatic events were a characteristic of their early lives, mainly physical abuse and emotional neglect.

A study of patients with BPD found that those who had high scores on the Dissociative Experience Scale DES , which measures the frequency of dissociative symptoms, such as autobiographical amnesia, derealization, depersonalization, absorption, and identity alteration Bernstein and Putnam, , experienced significantly more severe emotional and physical neglect and emotional and physical abuse but not sexual abuse during childhood than those who had low scores on the DES Watson et al.

The results suggest that individuals exposed to severe traumatic events during childhood are more likely to develop dissociative symptoms. Traumatic experiences also often interfere with the integration of mental functions, thus, leading to their dysfunction Vermetten and Spiegel, Moreover, dissociative symptoms involve automatic avoidance strategies that defend consciousness from traumatic memories Briere, It is noteworthy that dissociative symptoms are one of the correlates of DRC Rassin et al.

Levitan , p. It seems that frequent experiences of dissociative symptoms or their intensification may produce frequent intrusions of dreams into experiences during the waking state. Dissociative symptoms and proneness to fantasy — characteristics linked to DRC — are correlated, and it appears this correlation can be mediated by experiences during sleep Giesbrecht and Merckelbach, High fantasy-prone students report more dissociative symptoms than their friends who score low or medium on fantasy-proneness Rauschenberger and Lynn, ; Waldo and Merritt, Furthermore, individuals who find it difficult to discriminate between dreams and reality score higher on scales that measure dissociative symptoms and fantasy proneness than individuals who do not confuse dream content with experiences during the waking state Rassin et al.

A study of 51 women from the general population found that fantasy proneness is linked to both dissociative symptoms and everyday cognitive failures Merckelbach et al. Moreover, dissociative symptoms, fantasy proneness, cognitive failures, and sleep disturbances are correlated van Heugten — van der Kloet et al. Later in the current paper, we present data indicating that disturbances in cognitive functioning are among the variables that increase proneness to DRC. The relationship between dissociative symptoms and fantasy proneness also has been observed in clinical populations. Merckelbach et al.

In addition, Steiger et al. To summarize, the above findings support our hypothesis that individuals with diagnosed BPD are more likely to experience DRC because of their tendency to experience dissociative symptoms and related phenomena, such as fantasy proneness, sleep disturbances, and cognitive problems. Individuals suffering from BPD experience more negative life events than other individuals — even those with other personality disorder s Pagano et al. The quantitative analysis of a group of 27 individuals diagnosed with BPD and a non-clinical group of 20 individuals showed that the BPD group had dreams with more negative affect than those in the non-clinical group.

Generally, individuals suffering from BPD experience negative dreams, including nightmares, more often than individuals who do not have any of the characteristic symptoms of this personality disorder Schredl et al. Nightmares are sleep disturbances that are related to sleep disorders. They are defined as vivid dreams, charged with negative emotions that awaken the dreamer from sleep DSM-V; American Psychiatric Association, The higher frequency of nightmares among BPD patients compared to the non-clinical population is related to greater emotional instability and heightened neuroticism in this clinical group Simor et al.

The intensity of BPD symptoms is positively correlated with the frequency of nightmares Semiz et al. To try to explain the prevalence of nightmares in persons with BPD, we present two theories: a nightmare model proposed by Levin and Nielsen , and the Emotional Cascade Model developed by Selby et al. Levin and Nielsen proposed a theory to explain the occurrence of dysphoric dreaming, which is based on two major assumptions: cross-state continuity and multilevel explanation. The first, cross-state continuity , assumes that some structures and processes implicated in nightmare production are also engaged during the expression of pathological signs and symptoms such as dissociative symptoms during the waking state Levin and Nielsen, , p.

The second, the multilevel explanation , refers to the idea that nightmare formation can be explained at two different levels: the cognitive—emotional level and the neuronal level.

Gift of Redeemed Integrity

At the cognitive—emotional level, there are imagery processes that represent emotional dream imagery, whereas the neuronal level contains a network of brain regions responsible for imagistic and emotional processes. This model was created to explain the occurrence of nightmares in the course of posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD ; however, it may also be used in an attempt to describe experiences related both to nightmares and cross-state continuity in patients diagnosed with BPD.

We will not discuss the concept of neuronal correlates of DRC and BPD, as this is beyond the scope of the present article. Instead, we will focus on the notion of cross-state continuity with reference to BPD. Other factors include high degrees of physiological and psychological reactivity, maladaptive coping, fantasy proneness, imagery vividness, and thin boundaries. Numerous studies suggest that almost all of these factors are usually present during the course of BPD, however more recent studies indicate that there is no heightened physiological reactivity in BPD e.

Persons diagnosed with this personality disorder are characterized by emotional dysregulation, which is the inability to flexibly respond to and manage emotions, entailing emotional sensitivity, heightened and labile negative affect, a deficit of appropriate regulation strategies, and a surplus of maladaptive regulation strategies Carpenter and Trull, In addition, BPD entails affective instability and a low level of emotion recognition Cole et al. Studies confirm that BPD patients display a negative distortion in the identification of their own emotional states and the emotional states of other persons e.

The inability to accurately recognize emotional states may intensify negative affect, emotional instability, and emotional reactivity in everyday life. Furthermore, patients with BPD are unable to tolerate distress and they usually use maladaptive regulation strategies to cope with distress and the negative emotions they experience, such as ruminations, impulsive behaviors, or cognitive avoidance Carpenter and Trull, Disorders of emotional processes in patients with BPD seem to occur not only in the waking state, but also during dreaming, as in the case of nightmares Simor et al.

The effects of nightmares and other bad dreams, apart from the fear they produce, can involve deficits in appropriate emotion-regulation skills, and decrease ability to cope with distress during the subsequent day, according to the ECM.

What is Reality?

Patients with BPD experience emotional cascades during the waking state, and this negative affect induces rumination — repetitive thoughts with mainly negative content. Ruminations increase negative affect, which, in turn, intensify ruminations. These processes result in increased cognitive activity during sleep that favors the appearance of nightmares and maladaptive behaviors during the waking state that are intended to cope with negative emotions. It seems that frequent nightmares in persons with BPD may influence the occurrence of negative life events Selby et al. Elevated cognitive arousal during sleep may cause awakenings or semi-awakenings, which consequently may lead to difficulty distinguishing between dreaming and waking experiences Trajanovic et al.

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In addition, the inability to cope effectively with stressful situations may enhance the tendency toward dissociative states Mosquera et al. Moreover, a study by Rassin et al. Taken together, the findings suggest that frequent unpleasant dream content in BPD may be a factor that increases proneness to DRC.

Patients with BPD can experience a number of different cognitive disturbances. Usually, executive functions, such as working memory and response inhibition, also are disturbed in BPD Hagenhoff et al. Moreover, BPD is characterized by deficits in feedback processing, altered social inference, and poor decision-making skills Trivedi, ; Mak and Lam, Generally, four types of cognitive disturbances are distinguished in BPD: i transient, quasi-psychotic cognition, ii dissociation, iii social cognitive biases, and iv neurocognition Fertuck and Stanley, A detailed description of cognitive problems in BPD, however, remains beyond the scope of the present paper.

What is important is that problems with reality testing may occur in patients with BPD Fiqueierdo, Reality monitoring, which is related to reality testing, seems to play a significant role in the process of distinguishing dream content from waking experiences.

Reality monitoring, a type of source monitoring, is defined as the ability to discriminate between memories of actual events, and memories of dreamed events, imagination, or delusions. Memory source is distinguished on the basis of its characteristics: memories of actual events include more perceptual and contextual details, whereas memories of consciously imagined events include traces of cognitive operations that were involved in their creation.

Dreams are classified as internally generated events, which are difficult to distinguish from similar, external events because they are created without conscious cognitive operations Johnson et al. In the case of dreams, conscious cognition, which is the most important cue that would help differentiate between internally generated memories and those generated externally is not present. These conclusions indicate that DRC may be associated with difficulty with reality monitoring. The temporary suspension of the source monitoring process, along with reduced ability to respond to a sensory stimulus and reduced attention, is one of the common features of both dreaming and waking fantasy.

These processes may make it more difficult to distinguish between the content generated during dreaming and waking fantasy.

Both waking fantasy and dreams play an integral role in mood regulation, adaptive information processing, and maintenance of self-cohesion by providing working templates for future goal-directed behavior and the development and maintenance of self-schemas Levin and Young, BPD patients exhibit certain cognitive disturbances that make them more prone to problems related to reality testing, and waking fantasy may also disturb the processes involved in correct source monitoring.

Furthermore, it seems that mood regulation is disturbed in BPD because of more negative dream content and emotional cascades at night Selby et al. Moreover, individuals who are more likely to make cognitive mistakes are less likely to trust their cognitive skills van Heugten — van der Kloet et al. We hypothesize that people with BPD who have some cognitive deficits will trust their cognitive processes less because they are not sure if their perception of reality is correct.

Our assumption is that due to their cognitive disturbances, persons with BPD, compared to non-clinical populations, more often will be unsure what the source of certain events or experiences are dream vs. The difficulty that BPD patients encounter in reality testing Fiqueierdo, and their problems with metacognitive monitoring and metacognitive knowledge Sharma and Singh, seem to be the only examples of cognitive disturbances that could lead to a higher probability of experiencing DRC, compared to people from non-clinical populations.

The concept of boundaries, which was defined by Hartmann , refers to a wide spectrum of boundaries in the mind, including interpersonal boundaries the self vs. Thus, boundaries refer to: i connectedness among various aspects of the mind i. People have been characterized as having thin or thick boundaries Hartmann et al. As boundaries are generally stable across situations, there is a high probability that individuals with thin boundaries in certain areas will have thin boundaries in other areas Hartmann, Patients with BPD tend to have thin boundaries Hartmann, , and individuals with thin boundaries have higher dream recall than those with thick boundaries.

They also experience more emotions in their dreams, have dreams that are more negative and emotionally intense, dream more frequently about verbal interactions with others, and regard their dreams as more meaningful and creative Schredl et al. Levin and Young demonstrated that absorption is correlated with heightened creativity, a tendency toward dissociation, and increased involvement in imagination-based activities, with concomitant alterations in consciousness Levin and Young, In this context, it may be interesting to raise questions as to whether a greater ability to recall dreams increases the probability that dream content will be confused with real events.

As BPD patients have a greater tendency for absorption Zanarini et al. Additionally, these intrusions may favor the occurrence of dissociative symptoms, which as mentioned above, are correlated with DRC Rassin et al. Taken together, these data suggest that individuals with thin boundaries may be more prone to DRC.

Given the above considerations, it would be interesting to conduct studies on the relationship between creativity and DRC in BPD populations and non-clinical populations. Although a recent study by van Heugten — van der Kloet et al. Future studies should include DRC as a construct to elucidate its relationship with creativity. The variables that may lead to an increased tendency to experience DRC in patients with BPD were described in the preceding paragraphs.

Patients with diagnosed BPD may be more prone to experience dissociative symptoms because of traumatic events in their early childhood Watson et al. Thus, the greater tendency toward dissociative symptoms among persons with BPD may make them uncertain whether something they remember happened in their dreams or while they were awake.

Dissociative symptoms are correlated with fantasy proneness, which is also correlated with DRC Rassin et al. Furthermore, persons with BPD often suffer from various sleep disorders Hafizi, , and sleep disorders for instance, nightmares and unusual sleep experiences are related to dissociative symptoms and to DRC Giesbrecht and Merckelbach, ; van Heugten — van der Kloet et al. Moreover, patients with BPD experience negative emotions during wakefulness that are related to negative emotional experiences during dreaming Selby et al. This process may also be connected to elevated cognitive arousal during sleeping that causes awakenings or semi-awakenings, which consequently lead to difficulty distinguishing between dreaming and waking experiences Trajanovic et al.

In addition, dreams that are more likely to be confused with reality are realistic, evoke negative emotions, and give rise to behavior in the waking state Rassin et al. The dream content of patients with BPD is more negative than the dream content of individuals in non-clinical populations, and people with BPD tend to experience a number of different cognitive disturbances, such as problems with reality testing, metacognitive deficits, altered social inference, poor decision-making skills, or cognitive distortions Fiqueierdo, ; Trivedi, ; Wenzel et al.

We hypothesize that due to the feedback loop of negative affect during dreaming and wakefulness, cognitive disturbances, and increased impulsivity, patients with BPD may take actions after awakening that are based on their dream content, because they are convinced that these events happened in reality. Moreover, people with BPD are characterized by thin boundaries Hartmann, , which may further enhance the confusion between dreams and wakefulness.

This theoretical analysis, including such variables as sleep disturbances, dissociative symptoms, negative dream content, cognitive dysfunction, and thin boundaries leads to the proposition that patients with BPD may be more prone to DRC, compared to non-clinical population. Future research on the general working model should involve the use of factor analysis and structural equation modeling in order to identify and confirm important variables and explore the complex relationships among these variables. We plan to conduct empirical verification of these relationships.


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The aim of this extensive research program is not only to examine whether patients with BPD are more vulnerable than other people to experience DRC, but to study comprehensively the psychological and neuropsychological aspects of sleep and dreams, using subjective and objective methods, on a continuum: BPD — some features of BPD — lack of BPD. The theoretical analysis presented above is exploratory in nature and is intended to serve as a starting point for further, more advanced analyses, and to provide a theoretical basis for planning empirical studies.

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. American Psychiatric Association. Google Scholar. Registered prevalence of borderline personality disorder in primary care databases. Asaad, T. Battaglia, M. Ambulatory polysomnography of never-depressed borderline subjects: a high-risk approach to rapid eye movement latency.

Psychiatry 33, — Benson, K. Sleep patterns in borderline personality disorder. Bernstein, E. Development, reliability, and validity of a dissociation scale. Briere, J. Myers, L. Berliner, J. Briere, C. Hendrix, T. Reid, and C. Carpenter, R. Components of emotion dysregulation in borderline personality disorder: a review. Psychiatry Rep. Cavazzi, T. Psychophysiological research of Borderline Personality Disorder: review and implications for Biosocial Theory.

Cole, P. Emotional instability, poor emotional awareness, and the development of borderline personality.

Fertuck, E. Cognitive disturbance in borderline personality disorder: phenomenologic, social cognitive, and neurocognitive findings. Fiqueierdo, L.

Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE

Sense of reality, reality testing and reality processing in borderline patients. Fleischer, M. Giesbrecht, T. Dreaming to reduce fantasy? Hafizi, S. Sleep and borderline personality disorder: a review. Asian J. Hagenhoff, M. Executive functions in borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry Res. Hall, C. The Individual and His Dreams. Hartmann, E. Personality and Dreaming: the dreams of people with very thick or very thin boundaries. Dreaming 1, — After graduating from fine art school, she worked as a designer, illustrator and art director in a publishing company, but never stopped learning.

Along her professional activities, she attended different universities in Russia and France studying visual arts, architecture, film making, sculpture and teaching. The amazing and endless possibilities of Virtual Reality are the reason she is now working almost exclusively as a VR artist, mainly through live performances and mixed reality video. Anna has adopted the term "Volumism" for her immersive creations of sculptured paint, because of the way this technology offer to create any volume and breaks the laws of gravity.

Steve Teeple better known as Teeps is a digital artist currently residing in the city of Oakland, CA where he dreams of vast 3D worlds and mind bending creatures. Lachlan is a VR designer, creative coder and VR educator. He's worked to create VR experiences for professional applications including optimising mental states, brand-activations, historical reconstructions, immersive computing and theraputic VR.

Neo-Impressionism and the Dream of Realities

His main area of interest is the ways that VR allows us to expand the scope of experiences accessible to a human mind by allowing us to manifest and share the worlds and spaces inside our heads - ultimately bringing us closer to nature and ourselves. He is currently working on applications exploring free interaction in VR and what this means for unique vs. Bittman is a virtual reality artist, film maker, and developer creating the fastest workflow to translate the human imagination into digital information. Most of his work centers around self initiated experiments to explore what's possible.

Bittman's background is in narrative and freelance film making with a hint of practical SPFX mastery. He has always loved writing stories about VR and AR. After school she was a 3d character artist in the AAA games industry before moving to Montreal where she now lives and works. Edwards started working in Tilt Brush as soon as the Vive became commercially available. She is now well known for her work in Tilt Brush, Medium and Quill, producing quite different work in each program. She thinks of Medium as closer to Sculpting and Tilt Brush to drawing.

As a software developer, Zach has a particular focus on design, interaction, usability, and user experience. Zach has also developed several of his own software products. Originally from Wisconsin, his work explores the balance between natural and virtual worlds, often with ironic and comedic overtones. In his free time, he makes sci-fi interface art and produces electronic music. Sutu uses art and technology in new ways to tell stories. She focuses on the integration of emerging tech and visual storytelling as a new art form, to inspire new ways of connection, education, and empathy building.

Blending realities and art with virtual reality tools like Tilt Brush and Oculus Medium he works towards forming strands and stories that connect humans. Constantly pushing the cutting edge of hardware and software forward to inspire and educate about new immersive technology. Vladimir worked with partners like Google, AMD, Mozilla, Sony Pictures and the European Parliament on immersive projects that expand our understanding of art and technology.

An immersive multiplayer art showcase in VR, the Museum of Other Realities is a place to connect, share, and experience virtual reality art with others. A New Frontier for Art An immersive art showcase. View the Gallery. Building a Community Hang out with friends and enjoy a collective experience with new people. Supporting Artists Every artist featuring their work in the Museum is paid and promoted.

Get in touch. Jul 4, Jun 28, Samuel Arsenault-Brassard. Isaac Cohen.


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    Bastiaan Hooimeijer. Sebastian Sanabria. The end results are pieces that reflect my taste and are functional. Anna Zhilyaeva. Steve Teeple. Lachlan Sleight. Mez Breeze. Danny Bittman. Liz Edwards. Zach Kinstner. Mike Murdock. Estella Tse. Vladimir Ilic.