Amy Tan's books and stories have included ideas, breakthroughs, and whole narratives unleashed during dreams. She believes that her creativity relates to a free-form combination of memory, emotion and sensory synesthesia leading to metaphors and narrative paths. Her dreams have a similar quality. Do dreams enhance creative leaps? Can one use dreaming to increase creativity in specific ways? She discusses the effect of dreams on creativity with Harvard clinical psychologist and dream researcher Deirdre Barrett. 

​About Brainwave 2011: Dreams

Buddhism might not exist were it not for the “conception” dream of Queen Maya, the Buddha’s mother. In her dream a white elephant comes to her while she is sleeping and penetrates her right side with his trunk. It is from this same side that the Buddha is born, setting in motion a chain of fantastic events that would eventually lead to his enlightenment. The museum’s fourth annual exploration of the human mind will focus on the relationship between dreams and prophecy. Why do we dream? What function does this ancillary brain activity serve? Do dreams anticipate the future? Brainwave will endeavor to answer these questions in a number of formats, including on-stage conversations between mind scientists and people from other walks of life, the museum’s first “dream-over” for adults at the museum, and a series of workshops linked to the U.S. theatrical premiere of the award-winning documentary The Edge of Dreaming.

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