Current Research Interests

 My current interests include studies of relations among attention (and inattention), consciousness, and agency. I also investigate how individuals make sense of unusual, frightening, hallucinoid experiences and how such sense making is shaped by both cultural and neurophysiological factors. I am also interested in the evolutionary and cultural origins of soul and god beliefs and in the bases of religious belief and unbelief.

 Selected Publications

(2010). Aging and Psychology. 25, 569-574.


Age trends for failures of sustained attention.


Carriere, J. S. A., Cheyne, J. A., Solman, G. J. F., & Smilek, D.


Recent research has revealed an age-related reduction in errors in a sustained attention task, suggesting that sustained attention abilities improve with age. Such results seem paradoxical in light of the well-documented age-related declines in cognitive performance. In the present study, performance on the sustained attention to response task (SART) was assessed in a supplemented archival sample of 638 individuals between 14 and 77 years old. SART errors and response speed appeared to decline in a linear fashion as a function of age throughout the age span studied. In contrast, other measures of sustained attention (reaction time coefficient of variation), anticipation, and omissions) showed a decrease early in life and then remained unchanged for the rest of the life span. Thus, sustained attention shows improvements with maturation in early adulthood but then does not change with aging in older adults. On the other hand, aging across the entire life span leads to a more strategic (i.e., slower) response style that reduces the overt and critical consequences (i.e., SART errors) of momentary task disengagement.


 (2010). Parasomnias and other movement-related sleep disorders. M. Thorpy & G. Plazzi (Eds.), Amsterdam, Elsevier.


Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis.


Cheyne, J. A.


Chapter provides an overview of recent empirical research and current theory about sleep paralysis.

 (2010). Neuropsychologia, 48, 2564-2570.

Failures of sustained attention in life, lab, and brain: Ecological validity of the SART.

Smilek, D., Carrier, J. S. A., & Cheyne, J. A.


The Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) is a widely used tool in cognitive neuroscience increasingly employed to identify brain regions associated with failures of sustained attention. An important claim of the SART is that it is significantly related to real-world problems of sustained attention such as those experienced by TBI and ADHD patients. This claim is largely based on its association with the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), but recently concerns have been expressed about the reliability of the SART-CFQ association. Based on a review of literature, meta-analysis of prior research, and analysis of original data, we conclude that, across studies sampling diverse populations and contexts, the SART is reliably associated with the CFQ. The CFQ-SART relation also holds for patients with TBI. We note, however, conceptual limitations of using the CFQ, which was designed as a measure of general cognitive failures, to validate the SART, which was specifically designed to assess sustained attention. To remedy this limitation, we report on associations between the SART and a specific Attention-Related Cognitive Errors Scale (ARCES) and a Mindful Awareness of Attention Scale – Lapses Only (MAAS-LO).


(2009). Consciousness and Cognition.

Absent Minds and Absent Agents:

Attention-Lapse Induced Alienation of Agency

James Allan Cheyne, Jonathan S. A. Carriere, Daniel Smilek

We report a novel task designed to elicit transient attention lapse induced alienation (ALIA) of agency experiences in normal participants. When attention related action slips occur during the task, participants reported substantially decreased self control as well as a high degree of perceived agency attributed to the errant hand. In addition, participants reported being surprised by, and annoyed with, the actions of the errant hand. We argue that ALIA experiences occur because of constraints imposed by the close and precise temporal relations between intention formation and a contrary action employed in this paradigm. We note similarities between ALIA experiences and anarchic hand sign (AHS) and argue that, despite important differences, both ALIA experiences and AHS phenomenology reflect failures of executive control to intervene and cancel contrary affordance-driven habitual motor plans.


(2009). Cognition, 111, 98-113. 

Anatomy of an Error:

A Bidirectional State Model of Task Engagement/Disengagement

and Attention-Related Errors


J. Allan Cheyne, Grayden J. F. Solman, Jonathan S. A. Carriere, & Daniel Smilek

We present arguments and evidence for a three-state attentional model of task engagement/disengagement. The model postulates three states of mind wandering: occurrent task inattention, generic task inattention, and response disengagement. We hypothesize that all three states are both causes and consequences of task performance outcomes and apply across a variety of experimental and real-world tasks. We apply this model to the analysis of a widely used GO/NOGO task, the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART). We identify three performance characteristics of the SART that map onto the three states of the model: RT variability, anticipations, and omissions. Predictions based on the model are tested, and largely corroborated, via regression and lag-sequential analyses of both successful and unsuccessful withholding on NOGO trials as well as self-reported mind wandering and everyday cognitive errors. The results revealed theoretically consistent temporal associations among the state indicators and between these and SART errors as well as with self-report measures. Lag analysis was consistent with the hypotheses that temporal transitions among states are often extremely abrupt and that the association between mind wandering and performance is bidirectional. The bidirectional effects suggest that errors constitute important occasions for reactive mind wandering. The model also enables concrete phenomenological, behavioral, and physiological predictions for future research. 

(2009) Perception, 38, 100-108.

Caricature and Contrast in the Upper Palaeolithic:

Morphometric Evidence from Cave Art


 James Allan Cheyne, Lisa Meschino, Daniel Smilek

 The earliest known explicit and unambiguous employment of representation in external media is in the form of figurative depictions of large mammals during the Upper Palaeolithic. These images, though often created with evident technical skill and intimate knowledge of the subject matter, are frequently characterized by curious and pronounced distortions. We provide evidence based on quantitative analysis of parietal graphic images of two commonly depicted species for the hypothesis that certain of these distortions are neither errors nor idiosyncratic variations, but systematic deviations from veridicality in the form of caricatures consistent with cognitive principles of graded typicality and contrast in categorization. Our analysis provides evidence that the first apparent conventions of representational art by humans were informed by basic cognitive-perceptual principles of categorization.

(2009) Cortex, 45, 201-215.

The Body Unbound:

Vestibular-Motor Hallucinations and Out-of-Body Experiences


James Allan Cheyne & Todd A. Girard (Ryerson University)


Among the varied hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis (SP), out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and vestibular-motor (V-M) sensations represent a distinct factor. Recent studies of direct stimulation of vestibular cortex report a virtually identical set of bodily-self hallucinations. Both programs of research agree on numerous details of OBEs and V-M experiences and suggest similar hypotheses concerning their association. In the present study, self-report data from two on-line surveys of SP-related experiences were employed to assess hypotheses concerning the causal structure of relations among V-M experiences and OBEs during SP episodes. The results complement neurophysiological evidence and are consistent with the hypothesis that OBEs represent a breakdown in the normal binding of bodily-self sensations and suggest that out-of-body feelings (OBFs) are consequences of anomalous V-M experiences and precursors to a particular form of autoscopic experience, out-of-body autoscopy (OBA). An additional finding was that vestibular and motor experiences make relatively independent contributions to OBE variance. Although OBEs are superficially consistent with universal dualistic and supernatural intuitions about the nature of the soul and its relation to the body, recent research increasingly offers plausible alternative naturalistic explanations of the relevant phenomenology.

(2008). Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 835-847.


Everyday attention lapses and memory failures:

The affective consequences of mindlessness


Jonathan S. A. Carriere, James Allan Cheyne, Daniel Smilek


We examined the long-term affective consequences of everyday attention lapses and memory failures. Significant associations were found between self-report measures of attention lapses (MAAS), attention-related cognitive errors (ARCES), and memory failures (MFS), on the one hand, and boredom (BPS) and depression (BDI-II), on the other. Regression analyses confirmed previous findings that the ARCES mediates the relation between the MAAS and MFS. Further regression analyses also indicated that the association between the ARCES and BPS was entirely accounted for by the MAAS and MFS, as was that between the ARCES and BDI-II. Structural modeling revealed these relations to be optimally explained by the MAAS and MFS influencing the BPS and BDI-II, contrary to current conceptions of attention and memory problems as mere symptoms of affective dysfunction. A lack of conscious awareness of one’s actions, signaled by the propensity to experience brief lapses of attention and related memory failures, is thus seen as having significant consequences in terms of long-term affective well-being.

(2007). Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 984-91.

The nature and varieties of felt presence experiences:

A reply to Nielsen


James Allan Cheyne & Todd A. Girard (Ryerson University)


Nielsen [Nielsen, T. (2007). Felt presence: Paranoid delusion or hallucinatory social imagery? Consciousness and Cognition, 16(4), 975–983.] raises a number of issues and presents several provocative arguments worthy of discussion regarding the experience of the felt presence (FP) during sleep paralysis (SP). We consider these issues beginning with the nature of FP and its relation to affective-motivational systems and provide an alternative to Nielsen’s reduction of

FP to a purely spatial hallucination. We then consider implications of the ‘‘normal social imagery’’ model. We can find only one specific empirical hypothesis articulated within this framework and it turns out to be one that we explicitly addressed in our original paper. We also review our position regarding the possible relation of FP during SP to a number of related anomalous experiences and contrast FP to anomalous vestibular-motor (V-M) phenomena. We review our position that the neuromatrix concept, in the light of available evidence, is more appropriately applied to V-M experiences than FP. Finally, we pursue speculations, raised in Nielsen’s commentary, on the wider implications of FP.

(2007). Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 959-974.


Paranoid delusions and threatening hallucinations:

A prospective study of sleep paralysis experiences


James Allan Cheyne & Todd A. Girard (Ryerson University)


In our previous research we reported a three-factor structure for hallucinations accompanying sleep paralysis (SP). These earlier analyses were, however, based on retrospective accounts. In a prospective study, 383 individuals reported individual episodes on-line providing further evidence for the three-factor structure as well as clearer conceptually meaningful relations among factors than retrospective studies. In addition, reports of individual episodes permitted a more fine-grained analysis of internal structure of factors to assess predictions based on the hypothesis that a sensed or felt presence (FP) is a core experience affecting other SP hallucinations. Results were generally consistent with this hypothesis. In particular, associations among, and temporal stability of, sensory hallucinations were largely explained by their common association with FP. The findings are consistent with REM initiation of a threat activated vigilance system with pervasive effects on the SP experience and suggest a potential model for the thematic organization of nightmares and dreams more generally.

(2007). Neuropsychologia, 47, 1257-1269.


Mental Representation of Space:

Insights from Oblique Distribution of Hallucinations

Todd A. Girard (Ryerson University), Désirée L. M. A. Martius (University of Amsterdam), James Allan Cheyne


Three-dimensional spatial distributions of hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis were used to investigate the internal representation of space. Left-right asymmetries in human preferences and abilities are well established. Parallel effects are also observed as lower-upper asymmetries. These parallels could reflect common underlying mechanisms or additive effects of independently evolved horizontal and vertical asymmetries. This study adds to the growing literature on multidimensional spatial biases in a context free from the influence of task-related factors. We present evidence of an oblique bias in the projection of both sensory and motor hallucinations toward lower-left and especially upper-right external space exceeding that accounted for by an additive model of separate horizontal and vertical biases. These observations are consistent with theories regarding a systematic functional relation of hemispheric with ventral and dorsal cerebral organization.


(2006). Consciousness and Cognition, 15, 578-592.



Lapses of conscious awareness and everyday cognitive failures

James Allan Cheyne, Jonathan S. A. Carriere, Daniel Smilek


A brief self-report scale was developed to assess everyday performance failures arising directly or primarily from brief failures of sustained attention (attention-related cognitive errors—ARCES). The ARCES was found to be associated with a more direct measure of propensity to attention lapses (Mindful Attention Awareness Scale—MAAS) and to errors on an existing behavioral measure of sustained attention (Sustained Attention to Response Task—SART). Although the ARCES and MAAS were highly correlated, structural modeling revealed the ARCES was more directly related to SART errors and the MAAS to SART RTs, which have been hypothesized to directly reflect the lapses of attention that lead to SART errors. Thus, the MAAS and SART RTs appear to directly reflect attention lapses, whereas the ARCES and SART errors reflect the mistakes these lapses are thought to cause. Boredom proneness was also assessed by the BPS, as a separate consequence of a propensity to attention lapses. Although the ARCES was significantly associated with the BPS, this association was entirely accounted for by the MAAS, suggesting that performance errors and boredom are separate consequences of lapses in attention. A tendency to even extraordinarily brief attention lapses on the order of milliseconds may have far-reaching consequences not only for safe and efficient task performance but also for sustaining the motivation to persist in and enjoy these tasks. 

(2006). Journal of Sleep Research, 15, 222-229.


Timing of Sleep Paralysis Episodes

Todd A. Girard (Ryerson University) & J. Allan Cheyne

The objective of this prospective naturalistic field study was to determine the distribution of naturally occurring sleep-paralysis (SP) episodes over the course of nocturnal sleep and their relation to bedtimes. Regular SP experients (N = 348) who had previously filled out a screening assessment for SP as well as a general sleep survey were recruited. Participants reported, online over the World-Wide Web, using a standard reporting form, bedtimes and subsequent latencies of spontaneous episodes of SP occurring in their homes shortly after their occurrence. The distribution of SP episodes over nights was skewed to the first two hours following bedtime. Just over one quarter of SP episodes occurred within one hour of bedtime, although episodes were reported throughout the night with a minor mode around the time of normal waking. SP latencies following bedtimes were moderately consistent across episodes and independent of bedtimes. Additionally, profiles of SP latencies validated self-reported hypnagogic, hypnomesic, and hypnopompic SP categories, as occurring near the beginning, middle, and end of the night/ sleep period, respectively. Results are consistent with the hypothesis that SP timing is controlled by mechanisms initiated at or following sleep onset. These results also suggest that SP, rather than uniquely reflecting anomalous sleep-onset REM periods, may result from failure to maintain sleep during REM periods at any point during the sleep period. On this view, SP may sometimes reflect the maintenance of REM consciousness when waking and SP hallucinations the continuation of dream experiences into waking life.

(2005). Journal of Sleep Research, 14, 319-324.


Sleep Paralysis Episode Frequency and Number, Types, and

Structure of Associated Hallucinations

J. Allan Cheyne

Sleep Paralysis (SP) episodes are often accompanied by vivid hallucinoid experiences that have been found to fall into three major categories previously thought to be organized according to intrinsic REM processes. Prior research has, however, combined data for individuals with varying degrees of experience with SP episodes, rendering interpretations of the source of this structure ambiguous. The present study of 5799 current SP experients compares the nature and structure of the hallucinations of novice SP experients with those reporting varying numbers of episodes. Both qualitative and quantitative differences were found in reported hallucinations as a function of episode frequency, although the underlying 3-factor structure of the hallucinoid experiences was highly similar for all groups. Novice experients’ reports were, however, characterized by clearer differentiation of factors, likely because of a tendency of experienced SP experients to conflate experiences across episodes. Age and age of onset of SP episodes were associated with differences in number and types of hallucinations but not their underlying structure. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the basic form and patterning of hallucinatory experiences is a result of intrinsic processes, independent of prior experience, likely associated with underlying REM neurophysiology.

(2004). Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 9, 281-300.

Spatial Characteristics of Hallucinations Associated with Sleep Paralysis

J. Allan Cheyne & Todd A. Girard (Ryerson University)

Introduction: Spatial properties of hallucinations have received relatively little systematic investigation. We present evidence from a web-based study of the spatial properties of a broad array of hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis. Predictions regarding spatial characteristics of hallucinations were based on proposed neurophysiological mechanisms underlying different types of hallucinations.

Method: Distributions in three dimensions as well as distance and dispersion measures were assessed for 279 experients for two general categories of hallucinations: Intruder hallucinations – including presence, visual, and auditory hallucinations; and Vestibular-Motor (V-M) hallucinations – including floating, flying, illusory motor movements, out-of-body experiences (OBEs), and autoscopy.

Results: For all spatial measures, Confirmatory Factor Analysis revealed that Intruder and V-M hallucinations constituted distinctive factors. In addition, Intruder hallucinations were experienced as occurring close to, usually within a meter of, the experient, whereas V-M hallucinations involved excursions of considerable distance, often beyond the immediate environment. V-M hallucination distance was positively associated with vividness of V-M hallucinations, whereas Intruder hallucination distance was negatively correlated with theoretically related contact hallucinations (pressure, obstructed breathing, pain, choking, and touch).

Conclusion: The differences in the spatial characteristics of Intruder and V-M hallucinations largely corroborated predictions based on the respective hypothesized neural substrates of a threat activated vigilance system and a bodily-self neuromatrix.

(2004). Laterality, 9, 93-111.


Individual Differences in Lateralization of Hallucinations

Associated with Sleep Paralysis

Todd A. Girard (Ryerson University) &   J. Allan Cheyne

Individual differences were investigated in the lateralization of two general categories of hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis: 1) Vestibular-motor (V-M) hallucinations; comprising sensations of floating, flying, illusory locomotion and postural adjustments, out-of-body (OBE) experiences, and autoscopy and 2) Intruder hallucinations; incorporating a sense of the presence and visual and auditory hallucinations of external, alien agents. Left-right lateralization of such hallucinations, as well as handedness and footedness, were assessed in a diverse, nonclinical sample of 201 subjects participating in a web-based survey of sleep paralysis experiences. V-M hallucinations, but not Intruder hallucinations were predicted, based on the hypothesized distinctive neural sources of the different hallucinations, to be positively associated with handedness and footedness. Specifically, the predictions were based on the hypothesis that the activation of components of a vestibular, motor, and kinesthetic bodily-self neuromatrix underlies V-M hallucinations, whereas a threat activated vigilance system is responsible for Intruder hallucinations. As predicted, limb preferences were consistently found to be significantly and positively associated with a side bias of V-M, but not Intruder, hallucinations.

(2003). Dreaming, 13, 163-180

Sleep Paralysis and the Structure of Waking-Nightmare Hallucinations

J. Allan Cheyne

Sleep paralysis (SP) entails a period of paralysis upon waking or falling asleep and is often accompanied by terrifying hallucinations. These hallucinations constitute a waking nightmare (w-nightmare) REM experience and are the original referents of the term 'nightmare'. W-nightmare hallucinations are described by a three-factor structure involving experiences consistent with 1) threatening intruders, 2) physical assaults, and 3) vestibular-motor (V-M) bodily sensations. The present study assesses the reliability of this structure and some of the underlying measurement assumptions using several large samples of w-nightmare experients. Causal modeling further elucidated the potential causal relations among the three types of hallucinations. The first two factors appear to be strongly thematically and sequentially linked by an underlying theme of threat and assault. The third factor is relatively autonomous but appears to be sometimes recruited into the threat and assault themes. A theoretical model is proposed that combines REM mechanisms, a threat activated vigilance system (TAVS), and a bodily-self neuromatrix (BSN), as generators and organizers of w-nightmare hallucinatory experiences. More generally, it is argued that these mechanisms underwrite two fundamental domains of conscious experience: the experience of an agent-inhabited world and that of a spatial-kinetic bodily self.

(2002). Journal of Sleep Research, 11, 169-177


Situational factors affecting sleep paralysis and associated hallucinations:

Position and timing effects

J. Allan Cheyne

Sleep paralysis (SP) entails a period of paralysis upon waking or falling asleep and is often accompanied by terrifying hallucinations. Two situational conditions for sleep paralysis, body position (supine, prone, and left or right lateral decubitus) and timing (beginning, middle, or end of sleep), were investigated in two studies involving 6730 subjects, including 4699 SP experients. A greater number of individuals reported SP in the supine position than all other positions combined. The supine position was also 3-4 times more common during SP than when normally falling asleep. The supine position during SP was reported to be more prevalent at the middle and end of sleep than at the beginning suggesting that the SP episodes at the later times might arise from brief microarousals during REM, possibly induced by apnea. Reported frequency of SP was also greater among those consistently reporting episodes at the beginning and middle of sleep than among those reporting episodes when waking up at the end of sleep. The effects of position and timing of SP on the nature of hallucinations that accompany SP were also examined. Modest effects were found for SP timing, but not body position, and the reported intensity of hallucinations and fear during SP. Thus, body position and timing of SP episodes appear to affect both the incidence and, to a lesser extent, the quality of the SP experience.

(2002). Cognitive Development, 16, 889-906.

Private Speech in Young Adults:

Task Difficulty, Self-Regulation, and Psychological Predication

Robert M. Duncan & J. Allan Cheyne

In a repeated-measures factorial experiment, private speech was recorded while young adult university students worked on computer and paper-folding tasks during two sessions. Each session included an easy computer task, a difficult computer task, a repetition of the difficult task, and three trials copying an origami model. All 53 participants used private speech. Private speech was more frequent on the first trial on the difficult computer task than on either the second trial or the easy task, and its frequency decreased across paper-folding trials within each session. Predicted short-term changes in temporal relations between speech and action and in structural characteristics of private speech were also observed. The present findings of high rates of private speech use and of its self-regulatory and predicative characteristics among young adults call into question long-standing generalizations regarding the ontogeny of private speech. Changes in private speech may reflect localized knowledge based on particular experiences and activity rather than - or in addition to - generalized developmental patterns.

(2001). Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8, 133-150.

The Ominous Numinous:

Sensed Presence and “Other” Hallucinations

J. Allan Cheyne

A “sensed presence” often accompanies hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis. Qualitative descriptions of the sensed presence during sleep paralysis are consistent with the experience of a monitoring, stalking predator. It is argued that the sensed presence during sleep paralysis arises because of REM-related endogenous activation of a hypervigilant and biased attentive state, the normal function of which is to resolve ambiguities inherent in biologically relevant threat cues. Given the lack of disambiguating environmental cues, however, the feeling of presence persists as a protracted experience that is both numinous and ominous. This experience, in turn, shapes the elaboration and integration of the concurrent hallucinations that often take on supernatural and daemonic qualities. The sense of presence considered here is an ‘other’ that is radically different from, and hence more than a mere projection of, the self. Such a numinous sense of otherness may constitute a primordial core consciousness of the animate and sentient in the world around us.

(Also published in E. Thompson (Ed.) (2001). Between Ourselves: Second-Person Issues in the Study of Consciousness. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic)

(2000). Behavioral and Brain Science, 23, 918-919.

Play, Dreams, and Simulation (A brief Commentary on Revonsuo)

J. Allan Cheyne

Threat themes are clearly over-represented in dreams. Threat is, however, not the only theme with potential evolutionary significance. Even for hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations during sleep paralysis, for which threat themes are far commoner than for ordinary dreaming, consistent non-threat themes have been reported. Revonsuo's simulation hypothesis represents an encouraging initiative to develop an evolutionary functional approach to dream-related experiences but could be broadened to include evolutionarily relevant themes beyond threat. It is also suggested that Revonsuo's evolutionary re-interpretation of dreams might profitably be compared to arguments for, and models of, similar evolutionary functions of play.   Full Text

(1999). Consciousness and Cognition, 8, 319-337.

  Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis:

Neurological and Cultural Construction of the Night-Mare.

J. Allan Cheyne, Steve D. Rueffer, Ian R. Newby-Clark (University of Guelph)

Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations (HHEs) accompanying sleep paralysis (SP) are often cited as sources of accounts of supernatural nocturnal assaults and paranormal experiences. Descriptions of such experiences are remarkably consistent across time and cultures and consistent also with known mechanisms of REM states. A three-factor structural model of HHEs based on their relations both to cultural narratives and REM neurophysiology is developed and tested with several large samples. One factor, labeled Intruder, consisting of sensed presence, fear, and auditory and visual hallucinations, is conjectured to originate in a hypervigilant state initiated in the midbrain. Another factor, Incubus, comprising pressure on the chest, breathing difficulties, and pain, is attributed to effects of hyperpolarization of motoneurons on perceptions of respiration. These two factors have in common an implied alien "other" consistent with occult narratives identified in numerous contemporary and historical cultures. A third factor, labeled Unusual Bodily Experiences, consisting of floating/flying sensations, out-of-body-experiences, and feelings of bliss, are related to physically impossible experiences generated by conflicts of endogenous and exogenous activation related to body position, orientation, and movement. Implications of this last factor for understanding of orientational primacy in self-consciousness are considered. Central features of the model developed here are consistent with recent work on hallucinations associated with hypnosis and schizophrenia.  

Full Text of this article is available at:

(1999). Journal of Sleep Research, 8, 313-317.

Relations among Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Experiences Associated with Sleep Paralysis

J. Allan Cheyne, Ian R. Newby-Clark (University of Guelph), & Steve D. Rueffer

The Waterloo Sleep Experiences Scale was developed to assess the prevalence of sleep paralysis and a variety of associated hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinoid experiences: sensed presence, felt pressure, floating sensations, auditory and visual hallucinations, and fear. Consistent with results of recent surveys, almost 30% of 870 university students reported at least one experience of sleep paralysis. Approximately three-quarters of those also reported at least one hallucinoid experience, and slightly more than 10% experienced three or more. Fear was positively associated with hallucinoid experiences, most clearly with sensed presence. Regression analyses lend support to the hypothesis that sensed presence and fear are primitive associates of sleep paralysis and contribute to the elaboration of further hallucinoid experiences, especially those involving visual experiences.

(1999). Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 31, 133-136.


Incidence and Functions of Self-Reported Private Speech in Adults:

A Self-Verbalization Questionnaire

Robert M. Duncan & J. Allan Cheyne

A self-report questionnaire assessing the use of self-directed speech was administered to 1,132 undergraduate university students to assess the developmental hypothesis that private speech is internalized during the early school years and hence does not occur in adults. Exploratory factor analysis produced a four-factor solution that was readily interpretable in terms of Vygotskian theory. Consistent with the view that private speech serves as a cognitive tool system, the highest scores were reported for questionnaire items loading highly on a factor consisting of cognitive, mnemonic, and attentional uses of self-verbalization. The scales appear to have good internal consistency, high test-retest reliability, and good content and criterion validity.


On a demandé à 1 132 étudiants au niveau du baccalauréat de remplir un questionnaire et d'autoévalué par le fair même l'usage qu'ils font de l'autoverbalisation. Dans l'ensemble, les scores êtaient élevé. A résulté d'une analyse factorielle exploratoire une formule de quatre facteurs que l'on a pu interpréter facilement d'après la théoré de Vygotskian. Partant du point de vue voulant que l'autoverbalisation serve/span> de système cognitif, les scores les plus èlevés sont attribués aus questions qui insistaient beacoup sur l'usage de l'autoverbalisation à des fins cogntitives, mnémoniques et attentionnielles. Les échelles d'évaluation semblent comporter un bon indice de cohérence interne, un coeffient de test-retest élevé, et une validité de contenu et de critères satisfaisante.

 (1999). Theory and Psychology, 9, 5-28.  

Dialogue, Difference, and Voice in the Zone of Proximal Development

Allan Cheyne & Donato Tarulli (Brock University)

In recent years many similarities, especially centering on the notion of dialogue, have been noted in the writings of Mikhail Bakhtin and Lev Vygotsky. although both attend to the dialogical character of speech and thought and the role of dialogue in the social construction and genesis of mind, we argue that their understandings of dialogue are different in important ways. We consider the implications of such differences for a broader cultural-historical view of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) by focusing on three issues: dialogue, otherness, and voice. These issues lead us to consider extending the domain of the ZPD to incorporate Magistral, Socratic, and Menippean dialogues. The dialogues constitute three regions on a continuum with centripetal Vygotskian and centrifugal Bakhtinian poles, and each emerges at a different point of development of the ZPD. This broad perspective on the ZPD provides a medium for cultural and historical change as well as for individual socialization.


(Reprinted as Dialogue, difference, and voice in the Zone of Proximal Development. In H. Daniels (Ed.) (2005). An introduction to Vygotsky. London: Routledge.)

 (1998). Narrative Inquiry, 8, 1-25.  

Paradigmatic Psychology in Narrative Perspective: Adventure, Ordeal, and Bildung

Allan Cheyne & Donato Tarulli (Brock University)

Structural and conceptual parallels between paradigmatic and narrative discourse are drawn and a single taxonomy of genres is applied to each. In particular, we argue that narrative depictions of person, place, and time, as reflected in Bakhtin's account of novelistic genres, find their parallels in the paradigmatic discourse of scientific psychology. In the first part of the paper we provide illustrations of the application of Bakhtin's description of narratives of adventure and ordeal to naturalistic and experimental reports in psychology. In the second part of the paper we turn to the theoretical discourse of psychology and illustrate the relevance of Bakhtin's historical typology of the Bildungsroman to various ways in which the notion of development is inscribed in psychological theory. In each case we consider the ways in which implicit narrative structures and themes enable and constrain practice and theory in paradigmatic science.

(1998). Journal of Adolescent Research, 13, 272-292.  

Interruptions in Adolescent Girls' Conversations: Comparing Mothers and Friends

Sherry L. Beaumont (University of Northern British Columbia) & J. Allan Cheyne

Previous research examining adolescent girl's conversations suggests that interruptions may serve dominance and/or affiliative functions. More recent research has offered the alternative interpretation that interruptions in adolescent girl's conversations reflect conversational style similarities and differences. This study extends previous research by exploring these hypotheses regarding the meaning of interruptions by analyzing multiple speech functions for interruptions and simultaneous speech. Fifty-six adolescent girls participated in discussions with mothers or with same gender friends. Successful interruptions and instances of simultaneous speech were coded as confirming, disconfirming, or rejecting. The results indicated that girls used significantly more confirming interruptions and rejecting simultaneous speech than did their mothers, but the function of girl's interruptions and simultaneous speech were the same with both mothers and friends. The results are interpreted to suggest that the apparent increase in interruptions often reported in parent-adolescent interactions may result from a change in the style of interaction during adolescence.