EXPERIENCING LEVEL IN DREAMS: AN INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCE VARIABLE1

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Abstract

An Experiencing variable along which dream reports could be scaled was proposed. Twenty subjects were studied in a sleep laboratory three consecutive nights. Awakenings were made to collect REM reports on nights two and three. 104 dreams were rated for level of Dream Experiencing. High EXP reports include explicit references to feelings or to some reflective activity by dream characters. Low EXP reports are descriptive of events, devoid of personal response or involvement. The Dream EXP level was found to be highly stable for individuals. Predictions that Dream EXP would be positively related to a measure of waking cognitive style. Psychological Differentiation, and unrelated to the personality trait of extroversion-introversion were both supported. Contrary to the prediction of a negative relationship between Dream EXP level and Defensiveness, no significant relation was found to the measure employed. Four subjects participated in a dream workshop designed to manipulate the Dream EXP level to increase it. Workshop dreams are discussed in light of the success or failure of this manipulation and the implications for psychotherapy.

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