Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

29.01.2009
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:
http://www.uwe.ac.uk
http://info.uwe.ac.uk/news/UWENews/article.asp?item=1415&year=2009

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

18.08.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>