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J Psychol. 2007 Jan;141(1):35-46.

Self-reported effects of dreams on waking-life creativity: an empirical study.

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Sleep Laboratory, Central Institute of Mental Health, PO Box 12 21 20, 68072 Mannheim, Germany.


The authors studied the self-rated effect of dreams on creativity in participants who were not selected for creative abilities. Students (N = 444) and online respondents (N = 636) answered a questionnaire about dreams and creative dreams. In addition, the students completed several personality measures and creativity scales. Results indicated that dreams that stimulated waking-life creativity played a considerable role in the lives of ordinary people (about 8% of all dreams). Examples reported by the online participants fell into 4 categories: (a) dream images used for art, work, or similar areas; (b) dreams that solved a problem; (c) dreams that provided the impetus to do something that the dreamer otherwise had difficulty doing; and (d) dreams containing emotional insights. The main factors influencing frequency of creative dreams were dream recall frequency and the thin boundaries personality dimension. Future researchers should use diary techniques to study the effects of dreams on waking life and should develop techniques to increase the frequency of creative dreams that might be valuable as aids for people in creative jobs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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