The Dream Journal
The Dream Journal
Evolutionary Dream Theory with Katja Valli, PhD

We talked with Dr. Katja Valli about the theory that dreams evolved as a kind of threat simulation which explains why why dreams are often unpleasant as well as why so many animals seem to dream. We also talked about what happens in your brain while you are sleeping but it is surprisingly uncertain what happens in your brain in dreaming vs sleeping more deeply. We also touched in on brain states during lucid dreaming as well as the theory of consciousness during waking life. Dr. Valli also talked about sleep apnea, narcolepsy, false memories, sleep walking and even the extremes of sleep murder.

We took a call from Chris from Felton who spoke about a conversation she had with her son while he was fast asleep.

And we finished by talking about some of the fabulous offerings at the upcoming IASD virtual conference which will be held June 13-17. For details go to the webpage here:

I apologize that the audio gets a little rough from 18:30-21:45 when we are talking about brain activity. Please hang on! It gets better.

Bio: Katja Valli is an Associate professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Skövde, Sweden, and a Senior researcher at the University of Turku, Finland. Her research mainly focuses on the function of dreaming and especially the simulation theories of the evolutionary function of dreaming. She is also interested in the neural correlates of dreaming, and how dreaming may be altered in certain sleep  or neurological disorders. Valli has published more than 50 international peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals as well as book chapters, and edited (together with Robert J. Hoss) a reference module: Dreams: Understanding biology, Psychology, and Culture, published by ABC-CLIO. She is also the past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

You can contact Katja Valli through email at katja dot valli at utu dot fi

Live ambient music by Rick Kleffel.

Show aired on February 6, 2021.


The Dream Journal is produced at and airs on KSQD Santa Cruz, 90.7 FM, streaming live at 10-11am Saturday mornings Pacific time.  Catch it live and call in with your dreams or questions at 831-900-5773.

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If you want to contact Katherine Bell with feedback, suggestions for future shows or to inquire about exploring your own dreams with her, contact, or find out more about her at