Dreams Research. In a series of publications (Kuiken & Sikora, 1993; Busink & Kuiken, 1996; Kuiken, Lee, Eng, et al., 2006, Lee & Kuiken, 2013), we identified a dream type (existential dreaming) that is comparable to but qualitatively distinct from nightmares. These dreams, marked by deep sadness, become prominent during bereavement (Kuiken, Lee, & Prinsen, 2016). This newly articulated dream type was recognized in a comprehensive review of parasomnias (Nielsen & Zadra, 2000), in a recent encyclopedia of sleep and dreams (McNamara & Barrett, 2012), and in a recently proposed revision to the DSM5 criteria for nightmares and nightmare disorders (Kuiken, 2015). Current Efforts: We are now attempting to replicate evidence (Kuiken, Porthukaran, Albrecht, Douglas, & Cook, 2018) that the aftereffects of existential dreams include the enriched metaphor comprehension that may mediate self-perceptual depth, inexpressivle realizations, and sublime feeling.
Literary Reading Research. In a series of publications (Kuiken, Miall, & Sikora, 2004; Kuiken, Phillips, Gregus, et al., 2004; Sikora, Kuiken, & Miall, 2010; Sikora, Kuiken, & Miall, 2011), we identified a form of literary reading (expressive enactment) that involves reader identification with characters, repeated variation of affective themes, and progressive transformation of feelings and self-perception. Most recently (Kuiken & Douglas, 2017), we have provided the psychometric means for differentiating explication-centered expressive enactment from inference-centered integrative comprehension; we have also provided evidence that expressive enactment mediates the aesthetic aftereffects of deeply engaged reading and that integrative comprehension mediates the explanatory aftereffects of deeply engaged reading (Kuiken & Douglas, 2017). Current Efforts: We are now attempting to replicate evidence (Kuiken & Douglas, in press) that the aftereffects of expressive enactment include the enriched metaphor comprehension that may mediate self-perceptual depth, inexpressivle realizations, and sublime feeling.
Phenomenological Methods. To enable identification and description of the subtleties of dream experience and aesthetic experience, we have developed a form of empirical phenomenology that is rigorous and yet faithful to the complexity of peoples’ open-ended descriptions of their experience (cf. Kuiken, Schopflocher, & Wild, 1989; Kuiken, Wild, & Schopflocher, 1992; Kuiken & Miall, 2001). These procedures are phenomenological in that they: (a) presume that experience as immediately ‘given’ to the experiencing individual is a proper subject matter for psychological studies; (b) acknowledge that experience is as richly complex as the language required to express it, and (c) provide explicative descriptions of experience rather than causal explanations. Unlike other ‘qualitative’ research that shares these assumptions and objectives, our procedures take advantage of numerical classificatory methods, specifically cluster analysis. This integration of ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’ procedures balances rigor with sensitivity and remains faithful to the conception of empirical phenomenological methods set out set out by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty.