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Dreams are more negative than real life: Implicaitons for the function of dreaming
University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5133-8664
Univ Helsinki, Cent Hosp, Helsinki, Finland.
University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2771-1588
2008 (English)In: Cognition & Emotion, ISSN 0269-9931, E-ISSN 1464-0600, Vol. 22, no 5, 833-861 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dream content studies have revealed that dream experiences are negatively biased; negative dream contents are more frequent than corresponding positive dream contents. It is unclear, however, whether the bias is real or due to biased sampling, i.e., selective memory for intense negative emotions. The threat simulation theory (TST) claims that the negativity bias is real and reflects the evolved biolgical function of dreaming. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis of the TST that threatening events are overrepresented in dreams, i.e., more frequent and more severe in dreams than in real life. To control for biased sampling, we used as a baseline the corresponding negative events in real life rather than the corresponding positive events in dreams. We collected dream reports (N = 419) and daily event logs (N = 490) from 39 university students during a two-week period, and interviewed them about real threat experiences retrievable from autobiographical memory (N = 714). Threat experiences proved to be much more frequent and severe in dreams than in real life, and Current Dream Threats more closely resembled Past than Current Real Threats. we conclude that the TST´s predictions hold, and that the negativity bias is real.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Psychology Press , 2008. Vol. 22, no 5, 833-861 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Natural sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-2473DOI: 10.1080/02699930701541591ISI: 000257114100006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-47249144782OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-2473DiVA: diva2:132615
Available from: 2008-12-22 Created: 2008-12-22 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf