Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researcher’s dreams inspire study showing women have more nightmares than men

A researcher from the University of the West of England was inspired by her own nightmares and a chance encounter at a lecture to examine more closely the stuff that dreams are made of. Her PhD study has focused on an astounding discovery that women suffer more nightmares then men.

As a mature student Dr Jennie Parker was interested in looking at some aspect of psychology for her PhD study and it was at a lecture about dreams, given by former UWE researcher Dr Susan Blackmore that she had a moment of epiphany.

Dr Parker explains, “My own nightmares had two reoccurring themes, one concerned standing on the beach at Weston Super Mare, my home town, when the tide suddenly goes out very fast and returns as a huge tidal wave that is about to engulf me. The other dream includes a dinosaur roaming the streets at night and looking in at my window. I wondered if my experience was common amongst women.”

Several years on and Dr Parker has completed a study that looks set to turn Dream Research on its head and expand its potential as a subject with multi faceted possibilities hitherto unrealised. In the course of her work she found that research into sleep and dreams had used data collection techniques that discounted entirely the role of emotions in dreams. She believes that this ‘discovery’ opens up a whole new raft of research possibilities into the psychology of dreaming.

Dr Parker explains, “My most significant finding is that women in general do experience more nightmares than men. An early study into dreams lead to my discovering that normative research procedures into Dream Research often considered the structure of dreams but that there is a gaping hole in terms of academic study that investigates emotional significance in the analysis of dreams.

“To discover more about women’s dreams I asked participants in my project to fill out a structured dream diary. The evidence was collected in a very different way to that used in previous dream analysis projects that largely depended on recall after the dream has happened. The participants in my study were all primed to record their dreams before the dreams happened. I took a sample of 100 women and 93 men. They were aged between 18 and 25 and were predominantly Year 1 Psychology students at UWE.

“I found that women’s nightmares can be broadly divided into three categories, fearful dreams – being chased or life threatened, losing a loved one or confused dreams.

By corroborating dreams with actual life experiences for each participant it became evident that the anxieties about things that have happened in the past can reoccur many times as ‘emblem’ dreams.” Dr Parker continues, “It is these emblem dreams that are particularly significant. If women are asked to report the most significant dream they ever had they are more likely than men to report a very disturbing nightmare. Women reported more nightmares and their nightmares were more emotionally intense than men’s.

“We explored the dream reports by whether they were pleasant or unpleasant and this significantly changed findings. Both men and women were more likely to be the victim of aggressive interactions in unpleasant dreams. In pleasant dreams the dreamer was more often the aggressor. Women had more unpleasant dreams than men and unpleasant dreams contained more misfortune, self-negativity and failures.

“Women’s dreams contained more family members, more negative emotion, more indoor settings and less physical aggression than men’s dreams.

The research discovered that when the natures of these categories were explored more interesting differences in reported behaviour during dreaming emerged. Men made more references to attacks, or serious threat but reported fewer verbally aggressive or covert acts of aggression. Men and women’s friendly behaviour in dreams was the same; most often they reported helping other dream characters.

Men’s dream contained more references to sexual activity. Differences between men and women’s sexual behaviour were that men reported more actual intercourse, while women reported more kissing and sexual fantasies about other dream characters.

Dr Parker concludes, “Each of these dream types has its own distinct subjectivity. It would not have been possible to identify this complexity using traditional approaches to dream investigation. The implication of these findings are far reaching for dream researchers and suggest that we need to think in more complex terms when describing dream report content.”

Jane Kelly | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>