Editorial: cognition during sleep: hyperassociativity, associativity and new connections

Editorial on the Research Topic
Cognition During Sleep: Hyperassociativity, Associativity and New Connections

The purpose of this collection was to collate evidence and emerging ideas from the neurosciences, cognitive sciences, and consciousness studies to understand the nature of cognition in sleep. In particular, within the literature on dreaming, cognitive processes of “ hyperassociativity,” or “ loose connections,” have been suggested to be a key feature of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and dreaming. Hyperassociativity has been ill-defined, though it seems to comprise diffuse, surprising or weakly-linked memories or memory fragments, which are activated either sequentially or in parallel during a dream. Recent scholars have proposed that hyperassociativity may create the environment in which novel insights, new solutions and creativity can flourish and may therefore underpin some of the cognitive benefits of REM sleep. REM dreaming, in particular, may have evolved to spot non-obvious, remote associations which, coalesce to visualize probabilistic patterns in past events.

The papers within this Research Topic explored and considered cognition during sleep from several angles.