Dream Imagery and Emotion

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The relationship between prominent visual imagery and emotion within dreams was investigated in relation to E. Hartmann's (1996) contextualizing image (CI) theory and M. Seligman and A. Yellen's (1987) dual imagery theory. Fifty-nine students recorded dreams over a 2-week period and submitted 115 dreams for analysis. Participants recorded ratings of emotion type and emotion intensity in each scene. Prominent visual images were identified and scored for intensity and detail by independent judges. As hypothesized from Hartmann's theory, there was a significant positive relationship between CI intensity and emotion intensity in the CI scene, emotion intensity generally peaked in the CI scene, and dreams containing a CI had higher overall ratings of emotion intensity than non-CI dreams. The result for the correlation of detail of prominent imagery with emotion was inconclusive, with a low positive correlation across CI scenes. This raises the possibility that the CI is not a unitary construct.

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