- Also referred to as waking fantasy, oneirism, and reverie. The term daydream tends to be used quite loosely to denote a fantasy or memory played out in the imagination. Daydreams generally consist of imagined or remembered scenes or conversations. As noted by the American psychologist Mary Maria Watkins (b. 1950), "In daydreaming, the ego's attention becomes attached to to the imaginal contents in the same way it does to our daily concerns. There is no awareness during it or memory afterward ofwhat was going on. One could say that daydreams are a form of sleeping wakefulness, as opposed to the state of wakefulness even while sleeping that characterizes a waking dream." By definition, daydreams lack the perceptual quality of " dreams and " hallucinations. Nevertheless, they can be so lively and distracting that they drown out the regular stream of sensory input. Or, alternatively, they can arise as a consequence of diminished or depatterned sensory input. As the Scottish physician Robert MacNish (1802-1837) wrote in 1830, "Reverie proceeds from an unusual quiescence of the brain, and inability of the mind to direct itself strongly to any one point; it is often the prelude of sleep. There is a defect in the attention,which, instead of being fixed on one subject, wanders over a thousand, and even on these is feebly and ineffectively directed." Daydreams can occur either spontaneously or intentionally. They tend to be experienced as purposeless in nature, but they can also be used in a goal-directed manner. In psychology, daydreaming styles are labelled as either positive-constructive, or as guilty and fearful. Daydreams may occasionally develop into a " daymare, especially in subjects plagued by recurring " nightmares. More often, however, they constitute a prelude to a " microsleep, " hypnagogic state, or sleep state. The term daydream is used in opposition to the terms dream, sleep dream, and nocturnal dream. It should not be confused with the terms " dreamy state, absence, absence seizure, or " hypnagogic hallucination.ReferencesHartmann, E. (1984). The nightmare. The psychology and biology of terrifying dreams. New York, NY: Basic Books.MacNish, R. (1854). Philosophy of sleep. Second edition. Hartford: Silas Andrus & Son.Varendonck, J. (1921). The psychology of day dreams. London: George Allen & Unwin.Watkins, M. (2003). Waking dreams. Third edition. Putnam, CT: Spring Publications.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.