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Dream Sharing and the Enhancement of Empathy: Theoretical and Applied Implications
Department of Psychology, Swansea University, West Glamorgan, Wales.
Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter, Dyfed, Wales ; Department of Design, Goldsmiths, University of London, England.
Sleep & Neurophysiology Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, NY, USA.
Department of Psychology, Swansea University, West Glamorgan, Wales.
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2021 (English)In: Dreaming (New York, N.Y.), ISSN 1053-0797, E-ISSN 1573-3351, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 128-139Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study replicated and extended a previous finding that the discussion of dreams increases the level of empathy toward the dreamer from those with whom the dream is discussed. The study addressed mediating variables for the empathy effect. Participants who already knew each other were recruited in dyads and were assigned dream-sharer and discusser roles. Each dyad used the Ullman dream appreciation technique to explore the relationship of the sharer’s dreams to recent experiences in the sharer’s life, with a maximum of 4 dream discussions per dyad (mean length of dreams = 140.15 words, mean discussion length = 23.72 min). The empathy of each member of a dyad toward the other was assessed using a 12-item state empathy questionnaire. A total of 44 participants (females = 26, males = 18, Mage = 26.70) provided empathy scores at baseline and after each dream discussion. For below median baseline empathy scorers, empathy of discussers toward their dream-sharer increased significantly as a result of the dream discussions, with medium effect size, η² = .39. Dream-sharers had a nonsignificant increase in empathy toward their discusser. Change in empathy was not linear across successive discussions, and was not related to length of dream reports, nor length of discussions. These findings of postsleep, social effects of dreaming, with possibly a group bonding function, go beyond theories of dreaming that have a within-sleep emotional or memory processing function for the individual. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Psychological Association (APA), 2021. Vol. 31, no 2, p. 128-139
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Consciousness and Cognitive Neuroscience
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-20405DOI: 10.1037/drm0000165ISI: 000680200800004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-20405DiVA, id: diva2:1584434
Note

© 2021 American Psychological Association

Available from: 2021-08-12 Created: 2021-08-12 Last updated: 2021-10-26Bibliographically approved

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Valli, Katja

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