The study consists of collecting two types of reports – mind-wandering reports and dream reports – daily over a two-week period (14 days). These reports are collected anonymously using a personal participant ID, and this ID cannot be used to identify you. You may retrieve your personal participant ID here. Please write it down and use the same ID throughout the study. Because the ID is randomly generated and even the researchers of the study do not know who the ID belongs to, it is non-retrievable.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MIND-WANDERING REPORTS
Mind-wandering refers to the contents that enter our mind when we are not engaged in or focused on any specific activity or task, or when such activities/tasks are sufficiently automatized. For example, our minds may wander when we go to bed in the evenings, while we brush our teeth, or while driving somewhere. During this study, we ask you to deliberately engage in mind-wandering for ten minutes and to report everything that went through your mind during this period. We ask you to carry out this task and to write the mind-wandering reports every day for two weeks (14 days).
- Carry out the mind-wandering task in the evenings, at a time most convenient for you. It would be good to do the task at approximately the same time every day.
- Choose a calm place free of any external distractions (such as other people, tv etc.)
- Allow your mind to wander freely from thought to thought without any specific task or target for a ten-minute period. You may either close your eyes or keep them open. There is no need to try to control your thoughts.
- You may wish to set a timer on your phone or other device, so you don’t need to worry about the time.
- Immediately after the task, write down everything that went through your mind (thoughts, feelings, images, scenarios) as accurately as possible, and do not change the original report with later omissions, additions, conclusions or embellishments.
- Remember that every detail is important (no matter how unimportant it may seem).
- At times some of the things that arise in our minds may be odd or bizarre, but there is no need to feel ashamed. Report also those experiences you may want to censor, as they too are useful for the study. It may ease your mind to remember that your identity will remain anonymous.
- Try to describe people and places in such a manner that an external reader can understand how the report relates to your life. Do not only use the names of persons, but if relevant, add a description of who they are in parentheses. For example: “John (my little brother)”. You can also use pseudonyms for things familiar to you.
At first, the task may seem difficult. But there is no need to worry since over time the task gets easier. You may also comment on these difficulties in your report (if this is what you are thinking about during the task) and follow with curiosity where these thoughts lead you.
Once you have written down the report in the online form, you are asked some additional questions regarding your experiences during the 10-minute mind-wandering period and during the preceding day as a whole. All in all, the mind-wandering task together with writing the report and answering the questions takes approx. 15 minutes. You may find that the task and and filling in the form takes longer than the estimated time. However, we recommend you spend no more than 30 minutes on the task (task itself plus writing the report). We ask you to carry out this task for two weeks (14 days). If you wished to continue longer, you are free to do so but we would not recommend that you participate for longer than four weeks (one month). If you find that the time commitment of taking part in the study is more than you expected or circumstances make it difficult for you to participate, you are free to stop taking part at any stage of the study without having to give a reason.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DREAM LOG AND DREAM REPORTS
The aim of this study is to gather as many dream reports as possible in order to obtain a representative sample of dreams during and after the COVID-19 situation. For this, we kindly ask you to systematically keep a dream log daily for two weeks (14 days).
For this, we ask you to log on to the online dream log every morning immediately upon awakening for the next two weeks. First, you will be asked whether you remember having any dreams that night. You will choose one of the following three options: (a) Yes, and I remember (at least some of) the contents; (b) Yes, I think I had a dream but I cannot remember anything about it; (c) No, I think I had no dreams tonight. If you choose the options (b) or (c), you will be asked two additional questions (about your sleep quality last night and about how many people you had social interaction with the day before). If you choose the answer option (a), you will be asked to report your dream(s).
At first, remembering your dreams may seem difficult, but experience shows that it gets easier over time. Below, we have listed some tips and instructions for how to increase your dream recall, and how to report dreams as accurately as possible. It is known that after you begin concentrating on dreams your memory of them will improve.
How to remember your dreams?
When you pay no attention to your dreams, they are quickly and easily forgotten. To remember and report your dreams, you must transfer the dream from a short-term to a long-term memory system. Practicing the following memory strategies can help recall dreams.
- Keep your pen and diary at hand next to you bed
- Prepare enough time in the mornings to recall and report the dreams
- Before getting up and beginning your morning routines, you may wish to lay down a bit longer and recall everything that went through your mind before awakening
- Relax, close your eyes and ask yourself “What did I just dream of?”
- Go through the main events in the dream, and try to remember as many details as possible
- Write down these main events in bullet points
- Write down the dream in as much detail and as accurately as possible
Note: Trying too hard may disturb sleep and dream recall. Calm determined motivation is the best enhancer of dream recall. Remembering dreams is in itself fascinating and rewarding. Over time, remembering dreams will become more automated and it will happen almost by itself. The following may help you increase dream recall:
- Just before going to bed remind yourself that you wish to remember your dreams. Think to yourself or even say out loud: Tonight, I want to remember my dreams!
- You may try to sleep for as long as possible. The longer you sleep, the longer your REM sleep stage, increasing the likelihood of remembering the dream.
How to report your dreams?
- It is important that you report your dreams exactly as you have experienced them
- Report everything you remember (what happened, where, who was present, what you were thinking and feeling): no detail is too irrelevant or inconsequential to be reported
- At times, dreams may be odd or bizarre, but there is no need to feel ashamed. Report also those experiences you may want to censor, as they too are useful for the study. It may ease your mind to remember that your identity will remain anonymous.
- If you wish to add some details to your report, do not change the report, but add these separately at the end of the original dream.
- In case you wake up in the middle of the night and happen to remember a dream, you should recall and report it immediately, as it is likely that you will not remember it in the morning
- Make sure you report your dreams as accurately as possible. Do not attempt to make the dream more structured, organized, logical, or complete than how you remember it
- Do not change the original dream report with later additions, conclusions or embellishments
- In case the dream triggers some associations or real memories, or if for some other reason you wish to comment on your dream, you should write those in parentheses at the very end of the report (so that the comments are clearly separated from the actual dream report)
- The researchers who will later read your reports will not know who you are. They will not be familiar with the people, places and things familiar to your daily life. Make sure to describe persons and places in such a manner that an external reader can understand how the report relates to your life. Do not only use names of persons, but if relevant, add a description of them in brackets. For example: “Jill (my little sister) and I were fishing at Walden Pond (close to the cabin owned by our friend the poet)”. You can also use pseudonyms for the names of people and places if you do not want to share real names.
A summary for dream reporting:
- Recall the dream immediately upon awakening
- Replay the dream in your mind
- List the main events that happened in the dream in bullet points
- Write down the dream in as much detail and as truthfully as possible
Once you have written down your dream report in the online form, you are asked some additional questions regarding your dream experiences, sleep quality, and social contacts during the previous day. Filling in the form takes approx. 10 – 15 minutes. You may find that filling in the form takes longer than the estimated time. However, we recommend you spend no more than 30 minutes on the task. We ask you to fill in the form for two weeks (14 days). If you wished to continue longer, you are free to do so but we would not recommend that you participate for longer than four weeks (one month). If you find that the time commitment of taking part in the study is more than you expected or circumstances make it difficult for you to participate, you are free to stop taking part at any stage of the study without having to give a reason.