Emotions in diary dreams

Consciousness and Cognition 7 (4):634-646 (1998)
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Abstract

Even though various investigations found a preponderance of negative emotions in dreams, the conclusion that human dream life is, in general, negatively toned is limited by several methodological issues. The present study made use of three different approaches to measure dream emotions: dream intensity rated by the dreamer, intensity rated by a judge, and scoring of explicitly mentioned emotions (Hall & Van de Castle, 1966). Results indicate that only in the case of external raters' estimates do negative emotions outweigh the positive ones; but in the case of self-ratings (i.e., those made by the dreamer himself/herself), the ratio was balanced. Analyses showed that this is mainly due to the underestimation of positive emotions in the external ratings. Additionally, a positive correlation was found between the intensity of dream emotions and dream recall frequency, whereas gender differences were nonsignificant as regards the emotional tone of diary dreams.

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