Salvador Dali with dreamscape emerging from top of head

Coffee with a Curator

December 7 @ 10:30am 11:30am

Harnessing Dreams

Join us for this installment of our Coffee with a Curator series, where Museum Staff or invited guests speak on a range of Dalí-inspired topics. In conjunction with our special exhibition, The Shape of Dreams, Dr. Ruthann Atchley, a professor of psychology at The University of South Florida, will discuss sleep and dreams through a psychological lens.

Salvador Dalí famously argued that “reality dies in love as in dreams.” (Diary of a Genius, 1965).  He frequently utilized the bizarre and emotion laden content of his dreams as both source and inspiration for his astonishing, disturbing and influential art. In this talk, Atchley will examine the neuropsychological evidence that supports Dalí’s recommendations for harnessing dream imagery. She will discuss empirically-supported techniques that may be employed to gain conscious access to both sleep-onset and REM dreams. Further, she will discuss the importance of sleep and dreaming as life-sustaining neuro-biological processes, and the impact that sufficient and high-quality sleep can have on health and well-being.

Location: The Dalí Museum’s Will Raymund Theater (registration required), with overflow seating available in the Raymond James Community Room or live on YouTube (link below).


Register to attend in person at the link below. This event is free, with limited capacity. An event ticket is required for entry. Gallery access is not included.


To watch the live stream from home, click below at the time of the program:


Ruth-ann Atchely headshot

Ruthann Atchley

Dr. Atchley’s training and research expertise are in the areas of cognitive and clinical psychology and neuroscience.  Her overall research goals are to combine event-related potential electrophysiological data with a range of cognitive psychology tools to examine individual differences in linguistic and emotional processes. For example, with funding from the National Science Foundation grant, she has investigated how problems of language comprehension persist in readers with a history of developmental and acquired language disorders. Related projects seek to develop new measures of the perceptual and neurological processing abilities of older adults and adults with early Alzheimer’s by assessing language abilities in tasks that require perceptual processing, neurological processing, and off-line grammatical knowledge. She has also spent the last 20+ years investigating how neurolinguistic processes contribute to the negative cognitive bias seen in depressed individuals and those with chronic pain disorders. This work, funded by the NIMH, examines behavioral and electrophysiological markers that might help to predict depression vulnerability and relapse. Most recently, Dr. Atchley has extended this investigation of emotion and language to study more pro-social behaviors such work on generosity that is funded by the Templeton Foundation and looking at how creativity and empathy can be enhanced by spending time in natural environments (funded by the National Academies of Science).