The Effects of Menstrual Cycle Hormones on Dreams

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Changes in contents and language style of dream reports during the menstrual cycle were evaluated in seven women diagnosed as having Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Dream diaries were scored for Referential Activity (RA), i.e., the degree to which subjective emotional experience is captured and expressed in the communicative verbal code. Mean scores for overall RA and for the four individual RA scales (Specificity, Concreteness, Imagery and Clarity), showed peaks in the early luteal phase, i.e., at the time of high gonadal hormone concentration. The dominant contents of dreams in the early luteal phase reflected emotions directed towards other people, in contrast to the early follicular and late luteal phase themes of passivity and self care. The results support the interaction of physiological, emotional and cognitive events as postulated by the multiple code theory. Several questions are considered concerning the precise impact of hormonal fluctuation on emotional information processing as reflected in dreams.

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