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The threat simulation theory in light of recent empirical evidence: A review

KATJA VALLI and ANTTI REVONSUO
The American Journal of Psychology
Vol. 122, No. 1 (Spring 2009), pp. 17-38
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27784372
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The threat simulation theory in light of recent empirical evidence: A review
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Abstract

The recently proposed threat simulation theory (TST) states that dreaming about threatening events has a biological function. In the past few years, the TST has led to several dream content analysis studies that empirically test the theory. The predictions of the TST have been investigated mainly with a new content analysis system, the Dream Threat Scale (DTS), a method developed for identifying and classifying threatening events in dreams. In this article we review the studies that have tested the TST with the DTS. We summarize and reevaluate the results based on the dreams of Finnish and Swedish university students, traumatized and nontraumatized Kurdish, Palestinian, and Finnish children, and special dream samples, namely recurrent dreams and nightmares collected from Canadian participants. We sum up other recent research that has relevance for the TST and discuss the extent to which empirical evidence supports or conflicts with the TST. New evidence and new direct tests of the predictions of the TST yield strong support for the theory, and the TST's strengths seem to outweigh its weaknesses.

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