Topographic-dynamic reorganisation model of dreams (TRoD) – A spatiotemporal approach

Georg Northoff, Andrea Scalabrini, Stuart Fogel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Dreams are one of the most bizarre and least understood states of consciousness. Bridging the gap between brain and phenomenology of (un)conscious experience, we propose the Topographic-dynamic Re-organization model of Dreams (TRoD). Topographically, dreams are characterized by a shift towards increased activity and connectivity in the default-mode network (DMN) while they are reduced in the central executive network, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (except in lucid dreaming). This topographic re-organization is accompanied by dynamic changes; a shift towards slower frequencies and longer timescales. This puts dreams dynamically in an intermediate position between awake state and NREM 2/SWS sleep. TRoD proposes that the shift towards DMN and slower frequencies leads to an abnormal spatiotemporal framing of input processing including both internally- and externally-generated inputs (from body and environment). In dreams, a shift away from temporal segregation to temporal integration of inputs results in the often bizarre and highly self-centric mental contents as well as hallucinatory-like states. We conclude that topography and temporal dynamics are core features of the TroD, which may provide the connection of neural and mental activity, e.g., brain and experience during dreams as their “common currency”.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105117
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Dream
  • Dynamic
  • Re-organization
  • Self
  • Spatio-temporal neuroscience
  • Topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Topographic-dynamic reorganisation model of dreams (TRoD) – A spatiotemporal approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this