The world of dreams is that place where everything seems possible, a dreamlike, fantastic and sometimes completely crazy place that gives rise to the most absurd and terrifying situations, and which has the quality of happening exclusively in our heads. When we wake up, we are certain that we have told ourselves a story from which perhaps a lesson can be drawn. They are a secret story that we don’t have to share with anyone if we don’t want to because they only happen within ourselves, don’t they?
Can two people have the same dream? Research in this regard is few and not very fruitful. According to Patrick McNamara in ‘Psychology Today‘, the most frequent cases tend to occur between people who share some kind of bond: therapists and patients, lovers or family members (including twins), the less documented cases there are of strangers who have had the same dream, because, logically, they are more difficult to document.
The most frequent cases tend to occur between people who share some kind of bond: therapists and patients, lovers or twins
“There are two books that can give us a little information about it. One of them is ‘Dream Reader’, by Anthony Shafton, which was published in 1995 and which speaks precisely of the dreams shared between patients and therapists. The one that mentions the shared dreams between strangers is Frank Seafields ‘ The literature and curiosities of dreams‘,” explains Dr. McNamara. “Similar information can also be found on internet forums.”
The doctor affirms that they are stories so anecdotal that no accurate conclusion can be drawn either, but he insists that “on many occasions, people who say they have shared a dream (even if they do not agree on all the details) usually have some link, which means that they are more likely to share common stories that can be reflected in their dreams. “The fact that people who have experienced such an event ensure that they had not spoken before the dream, but discovered by chance that they had had the dreamlike fantasy itself, to put it in some way, lends credibility to the matter, “he explains.
This could mean that the two people have gone through identical brain states that produced the same cognitive content.
“If we accept the premise that it is true and two people can ‘share’ a dream, what does it mean?” He explains. ” If we assume that the brains produce dreams, we have to think that the two brains involved were in the appropriate brain state to produce identical content in two people. This could mean that the two people must have been in identical brain states and that these states produced the same cognitive content.”
However, he doesn’t seem to be entirely convinced of this theory since, as he points out, brains (even those of twins) are vastly different. “Another even more philosophical theory would be that dreams are not mere products of our sleeping brains, but arise outside of us and “pass” to us. In a sense they are independent of the minds that record and express them. Dreams perhaps are products of the interpersonal cultural world and float in the cultural morphospace hoping to land in the consciousness of an individual,” he says, although he does not agree with it either.
Ultimately, he explains, shared dreams are possible and there are examples of people who demonstrate having lived them. However, there is still no plausible explanation for why they happen: “Science has nowhere to put them within its current global landscape, but that is the best reason to investigate them. The phenomena that challenge paradigms are the most important data for science because they force revolutionary changes,” says McNamara. Perhaps that is exactly what attracts us and marvels the dream world, its mystery. And you, have you ever lived that experience?