Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

WWW Survey of the Content, Sensory Modalities, and Interpretation of Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Experiences

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

WWW Survey of the Content, Sensory Modalities, and Interpretation of Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Experiences

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: The terms hypnagogic imagery and hypnopompic imagery were introduced by Maury in 1848 and Myers in 1903, respectively, and refer to imagery of varying sensory modalities that is experienced in the borderline states just as one is falling asleep or awakening from sleep. Previous research into hypnagogic/hypnopompic imagery has tended to focus on hypnagogic (HG) imagery and the visual and auditory modalities in particular. Comparatively little is known about hypnopompic (HP) imagery and other sensory modalities. Although it is known that a range of anomalous experiences have been reported during the HG/HP states, there has not been much research into the range of interpretations that people may give to their HG/HP experiences. A WWW (World Wide Web) survey, with 492 respondents, was conducted to investigate the relative frequency of various sensory modalities for HG and HP imagery, the content of each type of imagery, and how these experiences have been interpreted.

The results suggest that HG is more common than HP imagery and that visual, falling, and sense of presence sensations are the most common forms of HG/HP imagery, followed by auditory, tactile, bodily, and movement sensations. Olfactory and gustatory imagery is relatively rare. However, one should note that the sample was self-selected and taken from the WWW-user population, which limits the generalisability of the findings. Although the range of HG/HP imagery content is quite broad, a qualitative thematic analysis of the survey data revealed a wide range of common themes that apply to both HG/HP experiences. …

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