Skip to main content

Day’s Residues

  • 108 Accesses


Day residues are defined as content from the last or recent days that reappears in a dream during the night.


The term was introduced by Freud (1900) in his theory on dreams and how dreams may be interpreted. Day residues are meant to have psychological relevance because they can be characterized as “unfinished business,” problems, conflicts, or tasks that have not yet been solved and that are still relevant for the dreamer. Unlike material from the past, day residues relate to current events in the individual’s life.

Day residues, which are detected in dreams, are assumed to be connected to an unconscious wish that is processed in a dream. They are more neutral or harmless in their content and thus better suited to deceive the censorship when connected to the unconscious wishes that are processed in order to be fulfilled by the dream experience. Sometimes it is difficult to define a day residue because all dream contents are supposed to be experienced during the...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Blagrove, M., Fouquet, N., Henley-Einion, J., Pace-Schott, E., Davies, A., Neuschaffer, J., & Turnbull, O. (2011). Assessing the dream-lag effect for REM and NREM Stage 2 dreams. PLOSone, 6, e26708.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, C. (1957). A study of the preliminary stages of the constructions of dreams and images. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 5, 5–60.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, C. (1958). Further observations on the Poetzl Phenomenon. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 11, 3–56.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, C. (1960). Preconscious stimulation in dreams, associations and images. Classical studies. Introduction, Psychological Issues, Monograph 7 (pp. 1–40). New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, C. (1988). Further observations on the Poetzl phenomenon. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 11, 3–56.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fiss, H. (1993). The “Royal Road” to the unconscious revisited: A signal detection model of dream function. In A. Moffitt, M. Kramer, & R. Hoffmann (Eds.), The functions of dreaming (pp. 381–418). New York: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freud, S. (1900). The interpretation of dreams, S.E. Vol. IV.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greenberg, R., & Pearlman, C. (1975). REM sleep and the analytic process: A psychophysiologic bridge. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 44, 392–403.

    Google Scholar 

  • Langs, R. (1971). Day residues, recall residues, dreams: reality and the psyche. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 19, 499–523.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leuschner, W. (1986). Mitteilung über eine akustische Methode experimenteller Traumerregung. Psyche, 40, 342–346.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leuschner, W. (1999). Ergebnisse psychoanalytischer Traumforschung im Labor. In R. Heinz & W. Tress (Eds.), Traumdeutung. Zur Aktualität der Freudschen Traumtheorie (pp. 167–180). Wien: Passagen Verlag. (2001).

    Google Scholar 

  • Leuschner, W., Hau, S., Brech, E., & Volk, S. (1994). Disassociation and reassociation of subliminally induced stimulus material in drawings of dreams and drawings of waking free imageries. Dreaming, 4, 1–27.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Leuschner, W., Hau, S., & Fischmann, T. (2000). Die akustische Beeinflußbarkeit von Träumen. Tübingen, edition diskord.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nielsen, T. A., & Powell, R. A. (1989). The “dream-lag” effect: A 6-day temporal delay in dream content incorporation. Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa, 14, 561–565.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nielsen, T. A., & Powell, R. A. (1992). The day-residue and dream-lag effects: A literature review and limited replication of two temporal effects in dream formation. Dreaming, 2, 67–77.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Nielsen, T. A., Kuiken, D., Alain, G., Stenstrom, P., & Powell, R. (2004). Immediate and delayed incorporations of events into dreams: Further replication and implications for dream function. Journal of Sleep Research, 13, 327–336.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Shevrin, H. (1986). Subliminal perception and dreaming. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 7, 379–396.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shevrin, H. (1992). The Freudian unconscious and the cognitive unconscious. In J. Barron, M. Eagle, & D. Wolitzky (Eds.), Interface of psychoanalysis and psychology (pp. 313–326). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Shevrin, H. (2000). The investigation of unconscious conflict, unconscious affect, and signal anxiety. In M. Velmans (Ed.), Investigating phenomenal consciousness: New methodologies and maps. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shevrin, H., & Fisher, C. (1967). Changes in the effects of a waking subliminal stimulus as a function of dreaming and nondreaming sleep. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 72(4), 362–368.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Shevrin, H., & Luborsky, L. (1958). The measurement of preconscious perception in dreams and images: An investigation of the Poetzl phenomenon. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 56, 285–294.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Shevrin, H., Bond, J., Brakel, L., Hertel, R., & Williams, W. (1997). Conscious and unconscious processes. Psychodynamic, cognitive, and neurophysiological convergences. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Strauch, I., & Meier, B. (2004). In Search of dreams: Results of experimental dream research. Albany: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephan Hau .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer International Publishing AG

About this entry

Cite this entry

Hau, S. (2018). Day’s Residues. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-28099-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-28099-8

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Behavioral Science and PsychologyReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences