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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Feb;96(2):249-64. doi: 10.1037/a0013264.

When dreaming is believing: the (motivated) interpretation of dreams.

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1
Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. morewedge@cmu.edu

Abstract

This research investigated laypeople's interpretation of their dreams. Participants from both Eastern and Western cultures believed that dreams contain hidden truths (Study 1) and considered dreams to provide more meaningful information about the world than similar waking thoughts (Studies 2 and 3). The meaningfulness attributed to specific dreams, however, was moderated by the extent to which the content of those dreams accorded with participants' preexisting beliefs--from the theories they endorsed to attitudes toward acquaintances, relationships with friends, and faith in God (Studies 3-6). Finally, dream content influenced judgment: Participants reported greater affection for a friend after considering a dream in which a friend protected rather than betrayed them (Study 5) and were equally reluctant to fly after dreaming or learning of a plane crash (Studies 2 and 3). Together, these results suggest that people engage in motivated interpretation of their dreams and that these interpretations impact their everyday lives.

PMID:
19159131
DOI:
10.1037/a0013264
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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