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Relationship between Lucid Dreaming, Creativity and Dream Characteristics

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Relationship between Lucid Dreaming, Creativity and Dream Characteristics

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Lucid dreaming is the ability of a dreamer to become aware that he is dreaming and to possibly change some aspects of his current dream. This ability is associated with higher creativity and a proclivity for divergent thinking. Between subjects, dreams have different structural characteristics, such as the incorporation of daytime events, aversive dream content, or dream recall frequency (DRF). This study aimed to investigate the relationship between lucid dreaming, creativity and dream characteristics like aversive dream content, personal significance, dream recall, incorporation of daytime events and great dreams. A total of 334 participants took part in an online study. The results show that lucid dreamers scored higher on the creative personality scale of the Adjective Checklist and reported a higher DRF than non-lucid dreamers. As to the dream structure, lucid dreamers were more likely to incorporate daytime events into their dreams, and their dreams had a higher personal significance than those of non-lucid dreamers. Furthermore, substantial gender differences were found in DRF and other dream characteristics. The results confirm the relationship between lucid dreaming and creativity and indicate that lucid dreamers differ from non-lucid dreamers in their general dream structure.
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Lucid dreaming, creativity and dream characteristics
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1. Introduction
Lucid dreaming is dened as the fact that a dreamer is
aware that he is dreaming while dreaming (e.g., LaBerge,
1987, Spoormaker & van den Bout, 2006). Tholey and
Utecht (1997) added more criteria to this phenomenon
such as awareness of freedom of decision, memory of the
waking state, and full intellectual abilities. However, only
very few of all lucid dreams seem to fulll all of Tholey and
Utecht´s criteria (Barret, 1992). An Austrian representative
survey by Stepansky, Holzinger, Schmeiser-Rieder, Saletu,
Kunze & Zeitlhofer (1998) showed that 26% of the sample
had experienced the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. In an-
otherstudy, 82% of an unselected student sample reported
having experience with becoming aware that they were in
a dream (Schredl & Erlacher, 2004) and in a representa-
tive German sample 51% of the participants reported that
they had experienced a lucid dream at least once (Schredl
& Erlacher, 2011). Nevertheless, only 0.3% to 0.7% of all
recalled dreams seem to be related to this specic state of
mind (Barret, 1991; Zadra, Donderi & Phil, 1992). Applica-
tions of lucid dreaming are for example training of complex
actions in lucid dreams (Tholey & Utecht, 1997) and its rel-
evance in psychotherapy, especially as an effective night-
mare treatment (Brylowski, 1990, Schriever, 1934, Zarda &
Pihl, 1997). Studies have found that lucid dreamers have a
higher internal locus of control, need for cognition, and they
are more creative than non-lucid dreamers (Blagrove & Hart-
nell, 1998; Blagrove & Tucker, 1994; Gackenbach, Heilman,
Boyt & LaBerge, 1985; Galvin, 1990). We suggest that all
these aspects of cognition could be related to lucid dreams
as they represent cognitive complexity and exibility
Creativity appears to be an important variable associated
with lucid dreaming. In a eld study, Stumbrys and Daniels
(2010) provide some evidence that lucid dreaming may con-
tribute to problem solving when dealing with more creative
rather than logical tasks. Both, frequent and occasional
lucid dreamers reported higher scores of creative person-
ality (Blagrove & Hartnell, 1998). Also, individuals with thin
boundaries were reported to be more creative (Hartmann,
1989; 1991). As to creative dreams, Schredl and Erlacher
(2007) found that the main factors inuencing frequency of
creative dreams were DRF and the thin boundaries person-
ality dimension. Creativity can be described as the ability to
a ‘new combination of information’ (Holm-Hadulla, 2011).
Measuring creativity or creative personality proves to be dif-
cult because of the diversity of existing denitions (Baron
& Harrington, 1981). According to Baron and Harrington
(1981), a differentiation has to be made between creativity
as a socially valuable product in order to call an act or a per-
son creative and creativity as being intrinsically valuable, so
nothing of demonstrable social value needs to be produced,
such as creativity of dreams, thoughts, imaginative expres-
sion or the curiosity of a child. Another differentiation can
be made with regard to the type of creative performance,
such as the difculty of the problem solved, the elegance
or beauty of the product, or the impact of its consequences
(Baron & Harrington, 1981). Furthermore, one must differ-
entiate between creativity as an achievement, creativity as
an ability, and creativity as a disposition or attitude (Baron &
Harrington, 1981). Rhodes (1961) described four basic ele-
Relationship between lucid dreaming, creativity
and dream characteristics
Nicolas Zink & Reinhard Pietrowsky
Department of Clinical Psychology, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany
Corresponding address:
Reinhard Pietrowsky, Henrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf,
Klinische Psychologie, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf,
Germany.
Email: R.Pietrowsky@hhu.de
Submitted for publication: June 2013
Accepted for publication: October 2013
Summary. Lucid dreaming is the ability of a dreamer to become aware that he is dreaming and to possibly change some
aspects of his current dream. This ability is associated with higher creativity and a proclivity for divergent thinking. Be-
tween subjects, dreams have different structural characteristics, such as the incorporation of daytime events, aversive
dream content, or dream recall frequency (DRF). This study aimed to investigate the relationship between lucid dream-
ing, creativity and dream characteristics like aversive dream content, personal signicance, dream recall, incorporation
of daytime events and great dreams. A total of 334 participants took part in an online study. The results show that lucid
dreamers scored higher on the creative personality scale of the Adjective Checklist and reported a higher DRF than
non-lucid dreamers. As to the dream structure, lucid dreamers were more likely to incorporate daytime events into their
dreams, and their dreams had a higher personal signicance than those of non-lucid dreamers. Furthermore, substantial
gender differences were found in DRF and other dream characteristics. The results conrm the relationship between
lucid dreaming and creativity and indicate that lucid dreamers differ from non-lucid dreamers in their general dream
structure.
Keywords: Lucid dreaming, dreams, creativity, dream recall frequency, dream characteristics, gender effects
International Journal of Dream Research Volume 6, No. 2 (2013) 99
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Lucid dreaming, creativity and dream characteristics
ments of creativity: The creative person, the creative pro-
cess, the creative product and the creative environment. As
a measure of the creative personality the Adjective Checklist
(ACL, Gough, 1983), which was used in this study, focuses
on Rhode’s rst basic element, the creative person.
Just as dream contents can be described and classied
(e.g. Hall & van de Castle, 1966), other dream characteristics
like dream recall frequency (DRF), personal signicance of
dreams, incorporation of daytime evens, the sensory quality
of the dream, aversive dreams, and great dreams can be
classied as well. These dream characteristics, which are
assessed in part with different dream inventories, consti-
tute what is termed as dream structure in the following. An
outstanding dream characteristic is the DRF. Several fac-
tors are associated with DRF. In a comparison of four repre-
sentative German samples, a substantial gender difference
in DRF could be demonstrated, with higher DRF in women
than men (Schredl & Piel, 2002). Likewise, individuals with
thin boundaries (Hartmann, 1989; 1991) have a higher DRF
(Aumann, Lahl & Pietrowsky, 2012; Pietrowsky & Köthe,
2003; Schredl & Piel, 2002). A higher DRF was also associ-
ated with a greater impact of dreams on waking behavior
the next day.
There are also gender differences for different variables of
dream structure. Studies have shown that females exhibit a
higher DRF and a stronger impact of dreams on the waking
state on the next day (Brand, Beck, Kalak, Gerber, Kirov,
Pühse, Hatzinger & Holsboer-Trachsler, 2011). A multiple re-
gression analysis in that study indicated that female gender,
sleep quality and creativity are predictors of a higher DRF.
Hartmann (1991) found that females have thinner boundar-
ies than males, which may account for more frequent incor-
poration of daily events into their dreams.
Several instruments have been developed to measure the
structure and characteristics of dreams. These question-
naires assess variables such as dream importance, DRF
(Schredl, 2002a, 2002b, 2004), dream vividness (Kallmeyer
& Chang, 1997), attitude towards dreams (Schredl, Nürn-
berg, & Weiler, 1996), the emotional and narrative content
of signicant dreams (Kuiken, Lee, Eng & Singh, 2006) or
dream intensity (Yu, 2008). Data obtained with the above-
mentioned questionnaires revealed that dreams of individu-
als can be differentiated by those variables, such as DRF
and attitude towards dreams (Schredl, Ciric, Götz & Witt-
mann, 2003), emotional and narrative content of impactful
dreams (Eng, Kuiken, Temme & Sharma, 2005), or dream
intensity (Yu, 2008, 2010).
The Düsseldorf Dream Inventory (DDI), which was devel-
oped by the authors based on an item and factor analy-
sis procedure (Aumann et al., 2012; Pietrowsky, Zink &
Schmitz, unpublished) is another questionnaire for assess-
ing dream structure. It includes a sleep quality scale (sleep
duration, time to sleep onset, nocturnal awakenings, intake
of tranquilizer or sleeping pills, alcohol consumption, sub-
jective sleep restfulness and light sleep) and the ve dream
structure scales “aversive dream contents”, “personal sig-
nicance” (of the dream), “dream recall”, “incorporation” (of
daytime events into the dream) and “great dreams” (dreams
with elements of wishful thinking, fullling desires and
gaining happiness). Using a preceding version of the DDI,
Aumann et al. (2012) found that DRF is associated with a
higher dream intensity and greater personal signicance of
dreams.
The aim of the present study was to examine the relation-
ship between lucid dreaming and creativity and their asso-
ciation with structural aspects of dreaming. As discussed
earlier, lucid dreamers were expected to report more cre-
ativity than non-lucid dreamers. With regard to the high as-
sociation between lucid dreaming and DRF (e.g., Schredl
& Erlacher, 2004, 2011), it was proposed that lucid dream-
ers have a higher personal signicance of dreams, because
their dream characteristics and dream recognition may lead
to an intensive occupation with dreams. Since some lucid
dreamers can change elements in their dreams, fewer aver-
sive dreams and more great dreams were expected in lucid
dreamers compared to non-lucid dreamers. Gender differ-
ences were expected in a higher DRF and a higher personal
signicance of dreams with more impact on the next day.
Considering the possibility that not only the ability to have
lucid dreams but also their frequency has an impact on the
results, a differentiation between frequent and occasional
lucid dreaming was made, because differences between
frequent and non-lucid dreamers are assumed to be more
signicant than between occasional lucid dreamers and
non-lucid dreamers.
2. Method
2.1. Participants
All 334 participants were recruited for the pseudonymous
online study via social networks and the mailing list of the
University of Düsseldorf E-mail system. Participants who re-
ported depression, other mental disorders or the intake of
benzodiazepines in the online questionnaire were excluded
since they may have alterations in their sleep quantity and
quality which may affect dreaming and dream structure.
Thus, 36 participants were excluded. Data from the remain-
ing 298 participants (240 female, 58 male; mean age 23.66
years, SD ±5.71 years), who were mostly students, were in-
cluded in the analysis. Psychology students received credit
for participating in the study and three randomly chosen
participants received book tokens as gratication.
2.2. Instruments
Several demographic items (gender, age, education, occu-
pation, mental disorders) and sleep quality (by the respec-
tive DDI scales) were assessed for the description of the
sample and the exclusion of participants not fullling the
inclusion criteria (mental disorders, intake of tranquillizers or
sleeping pills) by self-report. In order to assess lucid dream-
ing, we rst formulated a denition of lucid dreams: ‘Lucid
dreams are dreams, in which the dreaming person becomes
aware of being in a dream and intentionally changes certain
elements.’ This denition comprises the common criteria for
lucid dreaming, as well as two of Tholey and Utecht’s (1997)
criteria. This denition is more strict than in most other stud-
ies. An additional item was used to measure the frequency
of lucid dreams. The answer options were ‘at least once a
month’ (frequent), ‘once in a lifetime, but less than once in a
month’ (occasional), and ‘never’.
DRF in general was assessed by the item ‘How many
dreams do you remember over the last four weeks?’ A cut-
off was set at 30 dreams to prevent outliers from biasing
DRF mean scores.
Creativity was measured using the creativity scale (Smith
& Schaefer, 1969) of the Adjective Checklist (ACL; Gough &
Heilbrun, 1965). The ACL is a list of 300 adjectives contain-
Lucid dreaming, creativity and dream characteristics
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ing 37 scales for a systematic, comprehensive and sum-
marizing method to measure self-description by adjectives.
The creativity scale does not assess creativity per se but is
an implicit self-description of a creative personality by ad-
jectives. The creativity scale of the ACL was empirically de-
veloped and cross-validated to gain adjectives that indicate
different aspects of creative thinking and behavior (Domino,
1970). It contains 30 items with 18 positive and 12 nega-
tive items (Gough, 1979). As no German translation of the
ACL was available, the adjectives were translated into Ger-
man by the rst author (N.Z.). After retranslation by a native
English speaker, synonyms were checked and corrected.
Participants were instructed to read all 300 adjectives and
check the ones that describe their personality (not how they
wish to be); they were also advised not to spend too much
time checking individual ACL items.
Dream structure was accessed using a revised 43-item
version of the DDI (Pietrowsky, Zink & Schmitz, unpub-
lished). The actual version of the DDI consists of 36 items
to assess dream structure and seven items to assess sleep
quality. The sleep quality items include sleep duration, time
to sleep onset, nocturnal awakenings, intake of tranquil-
izer or sleeping pills, alcohol consumption, subjective sleep
restfulness and light sleep. The 36 dream structure items
have factor loadings on ve scales (in descending order of
variance explained by the factor: Aversive dream content,
personal signicance, dream recall, incorporation and great
dreams). In addition to the scores on each of the ve fac-
tors a total DDI score can be calculated which indicates a
general strong occupation with the dreams and a high sub-
jective signicance of dreaming. The scale aversive dream
content consists out of 8 items (e.g.‘I have nightmares’,’ I
dream about personal failure’,’ I dream about threats’), the
scale personal signicance consists out of 10 items (e.g.
positive items like ‘my dream are messages from subcon-
sciousness’, ‘my dreams are a gate to a spiritual world’ or
negative items like ‘interpretation of dreams is waste of
time’,’ my dreams have no special signicance for my life.’),
the scale dream recall consists out of 7 items (e.g. positive
items like ‘I can remember my dreams after waking’,’ I can
recall many details of my dreams’ or negative items like ‘I
usually awake from a deep and dreamless sleep’ ‘I usually
quickly forget what I dreamed’), the scale incorporation con-
sists out of 8 items (e.g. ‘I dream about things I experienced
the day before’; ‘stress has an inuence on my dreams’; ‘if
I was anxious in a situation, I dream about it’) and the scale
great dreams consists out of 3 items (e.g. ‘in my dreams
my personal wishes come true; I have dreams that are so
beautiful that I wish they become reality’).
2.3. Data Analysis
Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare cre-
ativity, DRF and the DDI scores between the three groups
of participants (frequent lucid dreamers, occasional lucid
dreamers, non-lucid dreamers). Subsequent t-Tests served
to identify signicant differences between each two groups
of participants. In addition, the lucid dreamers (frequent an
occasional) were collapsed to the group of lucid dreamers
and contrasted with non-lucid dreamers by t-Tests. Gender
differences for all measures were tested by t-Tests for in-
dependent samples. All analyses were performed with IBM
SPSS Statistics.Version 21.
3. Results
Of the total of 298 participants, 85 (28.5%) reported no lu-
cid dreams, 142 (47.7%) reported occasional lucid dreams,
and 71 (23.8%) had frequent lucid dreams (at least once in
a month).
Creativity did not differ signicantly between the three
groups of participants; F(2,295) = 2.33, p = .099. In the
subsequent comparison, lucid dreamers (frequent and oc-
casional) had signicantly higher creativity sores when con-
trastet to non-lucid dreamers; t(295) = 2.08, p = .038 (see
Table 1).
Comparing the mean frequencies of dream recall during
the last four weeks (Table 1), the three groups of partici-
pants differed in DRF, F(2,290) = 5.08, p = .007. Subsequent
t-Tests between each two groups revealed that both, fre-
quent and occasional lucid dreamers had a higher DRF
compared to non-lucid dreamers; t(150) = 2.70, p = .008;
t(222) = 3.02, p = .003, respectively. The pattern was slightly
different for the DDI scale “dream recall” (Table 1). The ANO-
VA also revealed a signicant group effect, F(2,295) = 3.18,
p = .043. But subsequent contrasts showed that frequent
Table 1. Means ( ± SD) of personal creativity scores, dream recall frequency (DRF) and measures of dream structure in lucid
and non-lucid dreamers
Variable Frequent Lucid
Dreamers (N = 71)
Occasional Lucid
Dreamers (N = 142)
All Lucid Dreamers
(N = 213)
Non-Lucid
Dreamers (N = 85)
Creativity 55.76 ± 9.94 55.02 ± 8.59 55.27 ± 9.05 52.90 ± 8.15
DRF 7.07 ± 6.52 6.88 ± 5.90 6.94 ± 6.09 4.54 ± 5.05
Dream Structure
Aversive Dream Content 20.07 ± 8.05 19.97 ± 7.36 20.00 ± 7.58 20.20 ± 7.15
Personal Signicance 24.59 ± 7.36 23.02 ± 6.40 23.54 ± 6.76 22.66 ± 6.26
Dream Recall 22.07 ± 5.92 20.14 ± 5.97 20.78 ± 6.01 19.73 ± 6.75
Incorporation 24.62 ± 6.26 24.77 ± 6.11 24.72 ± 6.15 23.14 ± 6.34
Great Dreams 8.66 ± 3.20 7.62 ± 2.86 7.96 ± 3.01 7.36 ± 3.15
Total DDI Score 100.01 ± 21.53 95.52 ± 19.82 97.02 ± 20.47 93.09 ± 18.83
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Lucid dreaming, creativity and dream characteristics
lucid dreamers scored signicantly higher than non-lucid
dreamers and occasional lucid dreamers; ; t(154) = 2.28, p
= .024; t(211) = 2.23, p = .027, respectively.
Scores on the DDI scale “aversive dream contents” (Table
1) were not affected by lucid dreaming), as was the “per-
sonal signicance” scale of the DDI; F(2,295) = 0.25, p = .98;
F(2,295) = 1.89, p = .15, respectively (see Table 1).
No signicant differences were also observed for the DDI
scale “incorporation” between the three groups of partici-
pants, F(2,295) = 1.98, p = .14, However, comparing the
collapsed group of lucid dreamers with non-lucid dream-
ers revealed signicantly higher scores for lucid dreamers;
t(296) = 1.99, p = .048 (see Table 1).
For the DDI scale “great dreams” a signicant group ef-
fect was observed; F(2,295) = 4.03, p = .019. Subsequent
t-Tests revealed that frequent lucid dreamers scored high-
er on this scale than either occasional lucid dreamers or
non-lucid dreamers; t(211) = 2.43, p = .016; t(154) = 2.54,
p = .012 (see Table 1).
The total DDI scores (Table 1) were not affected by lucid
dreaming; F(2,295) = 2.37, p = .095.
Regarding gender differences (Table 2) no signicant dif-
ferences were observed for lucid dream frequency. No gen-
der difference was found for creativity; t(295) = 0.15, n.s.;
while DRF was higher in females compared to males as was
“dream recall” scale; t(291) = 1.70, p < .05; t(296) = 3.02,
p < .01, respectively. A highly signicant gender difference
was observed for the total DDI score, females scoring high-
er than males, t(296) = 4.21, p < .001. Females also scored
higher on the aversive dreams scale; t(296) = 3.28, p < .001;
and incorporation; t(296) = 7.33, p < .001; but there was no
difference on the personal signicance scale; t(296) = 1.08,
n.s.. Finally, males scored higher than females on the great
dream scale.
4. Discussion
The present study showed that lucid dreamers have a high-
er degree of creativity than non-lucid dreamers. In addition,
the number of dreams recalled within the last four weeks
was higher in frequent and occasional lucid dreamers than
non-lucid dreamers. Dream recall frequency assessed by
the DDI, in addition, revealed that frequent lucid dreamers
recalled more dreams that occasional lucid dreamers. Note,
however, the dream recall scale of the DDI covers a wider
range of aspects than just the DRF. Lucid dreamers scored
higher than non-lucid dreamers on the incorporation scale
of the DDI. Moreover, frequent lucid dreamers scored higher
than non-lucid dreamers and occasional lucid dreamers on
the DDI subscale great dreams. . Females have a higher
DRF, more aversive dream content and incorporations in
dreams and fewer great dreams than males. The fact that
females also had a higher total DDI score suggests that their
dreams are experienced more intensely than is the case for
male participants.
Roughly 24% of the participants reported having a lucid
dream at least once a month and about 48% having at least
one lucid dream in their lifetime. These data corroborate the
ndings of Schredl and Erlacher (2004), in which also a stu-
dent sample displayed 82% of lucid dreamers. In a more re-
cent study by Schredl and Erlacher (2011), in a representa-
tive German survey, 51 % of the participants reported lucid
dreams as least once in lifetime, which is close to the 48 %
of participants in the present study, reporting at least one
lucid dream in their life. With regard to creativity, DRF and
incorporation, both frequent and occasional lucid dreamers
differ signicantly from those individuals who reported no
lucid dreams. This leads to the conclusion that the funda-
mental capacity to have lucid dreams (irrespective of the
actual occurrence of lucid dreams) has an impact on dream
structure, dream recall and creativity.
Furthermore, individuals who had frequent lucid dreams
had higher scores in the DDI scales dream recall and great
dreams than occasional lucid dreamers, so it can be sup-
posed that these measures of dream structure are affected
not only by the ability to have lucid dreams, but also by their
frequency. The results thus indicate that creativity, DRF and
incorporation of daily events into dreams are associated
with the ability to have lucid dreams, while their frequency
has less impact, except of the DDI subscales “dream recall
and “great dreams”. There was no signicant gender differ-
ence between lucid and non-lucid dreamers.
The result that lucid dreamers are more creative than non-
lucid dreamers conrms the earlier ndings of Blagrove &
Hartnell (1998), probably displaying underlying cognitive
processes like cognitive complexity and exibility, which
could lead to more creativity and the capacity for lucid
dreaming. Gruber, Steffen and Vonderhaar (1995) showed
that the global factor “independence” of the 16-PF Ques-
tionnaire (Costa & McCrae, 1985) could reliably distinguish
between frequent, occasional and non-lucid dreamers,
those who score high on this factor exhibit initiative, while
low scores are associated with passiveness and the need
for external support. Gruber et al. (1995) assumed higher
independence scores to be associated with the ability of
self-reection and more intentional control while dreaming,
due to a better regulation of emotions in the wake state (Bla-
grove & Hartnell, 1998).
Table 2. Frequency of lucid dreams (%) and means (±SD) of
personal creativity scores, dream recall frequency
and measures of dream structure in male and
female participants
Variable Males Females
Lucid Dream Frequency
Frequent lucid dreams 29.3% 28.3%
Occasional lucid dreams 41.4% 49.2%
No lucid dreams 29.3% 22.5%
Creativity 54.44 ± 8.13 54.64 ± 9.03
DRF 5.07 ± 5.96 6.55 ± 5.87
Dream Structure
Aversive Dream Content 17.22 ± 6.20 20.75 ± 7.57
Personal Signicance 22.45 ± 7.38 23.50 ± 6.43
Dream Recall 18.29 ± 6.01 21.01 ± 6.19
Incorporation 19.31 ± 5.15 25.47 ± 5.88
Great Dreams 8.95 ± 3.46 7.51 ± 2.89
Total DDI Score 86.22 ± 19.64 98.24 ± 19.46
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The higher DRF of lucid dreamers, which was previously
found in another study by Schredl and Erlacher (2007), might
be due to the fact that lucid dreams can more often be re-
called. Furthermore the ability to recall more dreams can be
part of the ability to have lucid dreams or vice versa. In addi-
tion, it may be possible that lucid dreams are regarded with
more signicance than non-lucid dreams. This assumption
supports the nding that lucid dreamers score higher than
non-lucid dreamers on the DDI scale incorporation.
The higher score on DDI scale “incorporation” in lucid
dreamers compared to non-lucid dreamers may imply that
the rst experience more impact of the waking state on
dreams. Together with the DDI scale “personal signicance”
these two subscales reect the boundaries between dream-
ing and waking and how they affect each other. In terms
of validity, the content of those scales corresponds to the
concept of boundary structure (Hartmann, 1989, 1991). In
line with this, Aumann et al. (2012) found that individuals
with thin boundaries have a higher DRF than those with
thick boundaries. They also described their dreams as be-
ing more personally signicant, bizarre and aversive. The
present study shows that incorporation scores were higher
for those who reported lucid dreams regardless of their fre-
quency. The results concerning great dreams correspond to
the dream contents of frequent lucid dreamers, who devel-
oped greater control over dreams, so that aversive dream
content was reduced and great dreams were increased (La-
Berge, 1987).
Gender differences like the higher DRF for females con-
rm earlier ndings (Brand et al., 2001; Schredl & Piel, 2002).
Females also scored higher on the total DDI as well as on
the subscales aversive dream contents, incorporation, and
dream recall. Males only scored higher on the DDI subscale
great dreams. Thus, the same pattern arises between the
genders and between lucid and non-lucid dreamers: fe-
males and frequent lucid dreamer have a higher DRF and
more incorporation in their dreams. Possible associations
between these ndings require further examination. Higher
DRF may lead to more incorporation and vice versa, or else
a third variable leads to higher scores in dream character-
istics and is associated with lucid dreaming such as the
boundary structure (Hartmann, 1989; 1991). In addition, the
similarities between gender differences and differences in
lucid dreaming lend support to the hypothesis of some un-
derlying genetic predisposition. However, gender differenc-
es in cognitive exibility and creativity have not been found
in other gender studies (Baer & Kaufmann, 2008).
Although the present study was undertaken in a rather
big sample of participants there are several limitations of
the study which affect its generalizability. First, the study
was undertaken online and thus this sample is self-selected
probably due to interest in lucid dreaming. This bears an
overestimation or bias of the number of lucid dreamers. Ad-
ditionally, no control on the correctness of the data is given
in an online survey. However, a large portion of participants
have been undergraduate psychology students which re-
ceived credits for participation. For those subjects a bias
due to personal interest in lucid dreaming can be negligi-
ble. Second, there are a rather small number of male par-
ticipants which may also weaken the representativeness of
the study. Third, creativity was measured indirectly by self-
description as a personality trait and not as a performance
measure. This may weaken the generalizability of the results
with other studies on creativity, which used the more com-
mon performance measures. Last, our denition of lucidity
is more strict, than in most other studies since we included
the criterion to intentionally take inuence on the dream (in
addition to being aware of dreaming).
In sum, the present study shows that individuals with lu-
cid dreams differ in self-reported creativity and some dream
characteristics from those who report no lucid dreams.
Whether lucid dreaming is the cause or the consequence of
these dream characteristics is not clear and needs further
examination. As lucid dreamers especially differ from non-
lucid dreamers in those dream characteristics associated
with boundaries or the connectivity between dreaming and
waking states, the interaction of these two states appears to
be a trait of lucid dreaming. The results of this study suggest
that – with the exception of experiencing great dreams – it is
more the ability to have lucid dreams that is associated with
creativity, DRF and other dream characteristics than the fre-
quency of such dreams.
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... We consider two main hypotheses to explain the high incidence of frequent lucid dreamers found in our present study. First, our sample is mainly constituted of young women, who comprise the cohort with higher dream recall frequency, which is closely associated with high lucid dreaming recall frequency [58]. Women are also more prone to report dreams and tend to be more interested in dreams than men [59]. ...
... Other studies also reported an increase in dream recall during the pandemic [34,35,37]. The association between dreams and lucid dreaming recall has been already largely documented, i.e., the more a person remembers dreams in general, the more they will be able to remember lucid dreams (for review see [56,58,60,66,67]. An example of this is the dream diary, which consists of keeping a daily report of the dreams one remembers having during the night [68]. ...
... Such a proportion mounted up, achieving 32.45% of those who remembered three to five dreams a week, then reducing to 26.50% for participants remembering dreams (almost) daily. Furthermore, our sample was mainly constituted of women, who are the public with higher dream recall [41,58,[73][74][75][76] mainly when passing through stress [77]. However, in the present study, gender lacked enough evidence to endorse its statistical significance regarding the increase of lucid dreaming during the pandemic. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic changed people’s lives all over the world. While anxiety and stress decreased sleep quality for most people, an increase in total sleep time was also observed in certain cohorts. Dream recall frequency also increased, especially for nightmares. However, to date, there are no consistent reports focusing on pandemic-related changes in lucid dreaming, a state during which dreamers become conscious of being in a dream as it unfolds. Here we investigated lucid dreaming recall frequency and other sleep variables in 1,857 Brazilian subjects, using an online questionnaire. Firstly, we found that most participants (64.78%) maintained their lucid dream recall frequency during the pandemic, but a considerable fraction (22.62%) informed that lucid dreams became more frequent, whereas a smaller subset (12.60%) reported a decrease in these events during the pandemic. Secondly, the number of participants reporting lucid dreams at least once per week increased during the pandemic. Using a mixed logistic regression model, we confirmed that the pandemic significantly enhanced the recall frequency of lucid dreams (p = 0.002). Such increase in lucid dreaming during the pandemic was significantly associated with an enhancement in both dream and nightmare recall frequencies, as well as with sleep quality and symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder. Pandemic-related increases in stress, anxiety, sleep fragmentation, and sleep extension, which enhance REM sleep awakening, may be associated with the increase in the occurrence of lucid dreams, dreams in general, and nightmares.
... The results revealed an overall lucid dreaming prevalence of 71% with a percentage of 25.4% frequent lucid dreamers, which is comparable to previous findings reporting a prevalence range of 47-90% and a percentage range of 17-38% of frequent lucid dreamers for university student samples from different populations (Palmer, 1979;Blackmore, 1982;Schredl & Erlacher, 2004;Erlacher et al., 2008;Yu, 2008). Consistent with previous evidence, no significant influence was observed for participant demographics on lucid dreaming incidence and frequency (Gackenbach, 1988;Snyder & Gackenbach, 1988;Schredl & Erlacher, 2004;Schredl & Erlacher, 2011;Erlacher, et al., 2012;Zink & Pietrowsky, 2013;Bulkeley, 2014). However, some studies reported that females have an earlier age of onset and different phenomenology of lucid dreaming compared to males (Stumbrys et al., 2014;Hess et al., 2017). ...
... In relation to dream characteristics, the current findings show that lucid dreaming is significantly dependent on multiple dream variables. Dream characteristics such as frequency and recall are hypothesized to depend on certain personality factors including creativity and attitudes towards dreams (Wolcott & Strapp, 2002;Aumann et al., 2012;Schredl & Göritz, 2017), which also associate with lucid dreaming (Gackenbach, 1988;Gruber et al., 1995;Patrick & Durndell, 2004;Zink & Pietrowsky, 2013;Hess et al., 2017;Schredl et al., 2019). In addition, day-dreaming frequency in this sample is found to positively correlate with lucid dreaming frequency. ...
... These results indicate that dream characteristics reflect personality factors that influence lucid dreaming and could represent a waking and sleeping personality continuum (Gruber et al., 1995;Schredl & Erlacher, 2004). Indeed, the general dream structure differs between lucid and nonlucid dreamers as shown by Zink & Pietrowsky (2013) who also reported that lucid dreams have higher personal significance and reflect on experienced daytime events. This is consistent with the current finding that belief of dream meaningfulness is significantly associated with lucid dreaming in this sample. ...
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Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon in which the dreamer is aware that he/she is dreaming while the dream is still going on. Many studies investigated the prevalence of lucid dreaming in various populations; however, no study has been conducted in the Arab Middle East region. As age and cultural differences in attitudes towards dreams may influence lucid dreaming, we aimed to investigate lucid dreaming and associated sleep characteristics among university students in West Bank Palestine. This cross-sectional study was conducted through an online questionnaire and a total of 390 students participated. The results revealed a prevalence of 71% and frequency of 0.77 (SD=1.85) lucid dreams/month. The awareness level of lucid dreaming was 38.5% and significantly associated with lucid dreaming incidence. Participant demographics and certain sleep factors such as sleep time, latency, duration and perceived quality did not influence lucid dreaming. However, nocturnal awakening significantly associated with the occurrence of lucid dreams. Dream characteristics including dream frequency, dream recall, day dreaming and perceived meaningfulness of dreams were all associated with lucid dreaming and positively correlated with its frequency. The results show comparable lucid dreaming patterns to other populations and indicate its dependence on many dream characteristics.
... They also show symptoms of a dissociation between REM sleep and wakefulness (e.g., cataplexy, sleep paralysis). Patients with narcolepsy are also dream masters: compared to the general population, they exhibit higher dream recall (Fosse, 2000) and lucid dreaming frequencies (Dodet et al., 2015;Rak et al., 2015), two factors that are positively correlated with creativity (Blagrove and Hartnell, 2000;Schredl, 2000b;Schredl and Erlacher, 2007;Zink and Pietrowksy, 2013). In short, patients with narcolepsy have privileged, repeated access to sleep (particularly REM sleep and sleep onset) and dreams. ...
... Consequently, subjects with narcolepsy exhibit a privileged access to sleep (particularly REM sleep) and dreams. Interestingly, lucid dreaming has been positively linked with creativity (Blagrove and Hartnell, 2000;Zink and Pietrowksy, 2013), as confirmed by anecdotal reports in our subjects with narcolepsy who used naps to solve real-life problems. For all these reasons, subjects with narcolepsy might have developed higher creative abilities. ...
... Notably, 43% of the 185 subjects with narcolepsy were frequent lucid dreamers according to the questionnaire, compared to 3% of the 126 normal controls, supporting further, with a larger sample in the present study, the higher percentage of lucid dreamers previously reported in three cohorts of subjects with narcolepsy (Dodet et al., 2015;Rak et al., 2015;Oudiette et al., 2018). Here, in accordance with previous studies in normal subjects (Blagrove and Hartnell, 2000;Zink and Pietrowksy, 2013), lucid dreaming had a positive impact per se (in the whole sample) on subjective measures of creativity. Lucid dreaming was not associated with higher objective performances in the EPoC, but this may be due to a smaller sample. ...
Thesis
Each night, we cross a bridge that connects the waking and sleeping worlds. We know very little about this bridge (symbolizing the sleep-onset period), as our passage is brief and leaves only a few fragmented memories behind. Moreover, sleep researchers have largely overlooked this twilight period, certainly owing to its ‘in-between’ and fleeting nature. However, upon closer examination, the sleep-onset period appears as a rich and dynamic time during which our body and mind undergo significant changes. Brain activity slows, muscles relax, and reality gradually distorts: dreamlike images begin to dance before the eyelids. In contrast to the research community, many scientists and artists, such as Thomas Edison and Salvador Dali, were fascinated by this rich period, seeing in it great potential, particularly for increasing their creativity. They even devised methods for capturing creative inspirations from this ‘genius gap’ before they vanished into the limbo of sleep. They would take naps while holding an object that dropped noisily as they dozed off, awakening them just in time to record some of their discoveries/ideas. Is there any truth in this seductive story? In other words, is the sleep-onset period conducive to creativity? This question will serve as the central theme of this thesis. Our main hypothesis was that hybrid states, at the borderland between wakefulness and sleep, would promote creativity. We tested this hypothesis by examining both a physiological state in which sleep and wakefulness coexist (the sleep-onset period, specifically the first sleep stage, named N1) and a sleep disorder, narcolepsy, in which the line between the two vigilance states is even finer than usual. We first demonstrated an increased creative potential in patients with narcolepsy, suggesting an (indirect) link between a privileged access to the sleep-onset period (caused by excessive daytime sleepiness) and the gradual development of creativity over time. Second, we found a direct link between the N1 stage and creativity, given that a single minute of N1 was sufficient to triple the probability of discovering a hidden shortcut to solve a task compared to a period of wakefulness. Additionally, this beneficial effect of the N1 stage disappeared when the subjects reached a deeper sleep (N2). We substantiated these results using spectral analyses and discovered an optimal cocktail for creativity (above and beyond sleep stages), consisting of an intermediate level of alpha (a marker of the wake-to-sleep transition) and a low level of delta (which signs sleep depth). We thus unraveled the existence of a ‘creative sweet spot’ within the sleep-onset period. Hitting this zone requires striking a balance between falling asleep easily and sleeping too deeply. Finally, we investigated the relationship between memory and creativity during sleep onset, using a newly-designed task that allowed us to evaluate these two cognitive functions within a single experimental design. Regrettably, the creative task was too difficult (not enough solvers) to assess the link between memory and creative problem-solving. However, we found that subjects who slept exclusively in N1 exhibited a 10% forgetting of previously encoded individual memory traces, whereas subjects who transitioned to the N2 stage showed less forgetting. Intriguingly, these last two studies both show distinct behavioral effects between two seemingly close sleep stages (N1 and N2). These parallel findings may suggest a link between memory processing (and possibly the pruning of irrelevant information) and the N1-induced boost in creativity. But more importantly, they emphasize the importance of distinguishing the N1 and N2 stages in future research, as they appear to have distinct effects on cognition. Overall, our findings indicate that critical cognitive processes occur during sleep onset. Notably, we found that this period constitutes a doorway into creativity, which neuroscientists [...]
... Several studies have revealed a strong and positive correlation between frequency of lucid dreaming and scores on self-report creativity measures (e.g., Blagrove & Hartnell, 2000;Zink & Pietrowsky, 2013). Tholey (1989) demonstrated that lucid dreamers could be instructed to dream about meeting individuals who only existed in their dreams, and found that these imaginary characters helped with simple creativity tasks such as finding rhyming words. ...
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Previous work suggests that unexpected and surprising experiences ( e.g ., living in another culture or looking at surreal images) promotes creative thinking. This targeted literature review examines whether the inherent cognitive disruption associated with experiencing the seemingly impossible has a similar effect. Correlational and experimental research across six domains (entertainment magic, fantasy play, virtual reality and computer gaming, dreaming, science fiction/fantasy, and anomalous experiences) provided consistent support for the hypothesis. In addition, anecdotal evidence illustrated the possible impact that the creative output associated with each of these areas may have had on technology, science, and the arts. It is argued that impossible experiences are an important driver of creative thinking, thus accounting for reports of such experiences across the lifespan and throughout history. The theoretical and practical implications of this work are discussed, along with recommendations for future research.
... Self-reflexive, semantic, and narrative skills are required in having the capacity for conscious thinking in the dream state (Edelman, 2003). Further studies find creativity, fantasy inclination and strong imagination as prerequisites for lucid dreaming (Schredl & Erlacher, 2004;Zink & Pietrowsky, 2013). These mechanisms can be summarized as metacognitive thinking (Blagrove & Hartnell, 2000). ...
... Self-reflexive, semantic, and narrative skills are required in having the capacity for conscious thinking in the dream state (Edelman, 2003). Further studies find creativity, fantasy inclination and strong imagination as prerequisites for lucid dreaming (Schredl & Erlacher, 2004;Zink & Pietrowsky, 2013). These mechanisms can be summarized as metacognitive thinking (Blagrove & Hartnell, 2000). ...
Article
Synaesthesia is a phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory modality automatically and consistently over time evokes a sensation in the same or a different modality in an idiosyncratic manner. In addition to pure sensory coupling, synaesthetes are characterized by cognitive peculiarities, such as abnormalities in perception, creativity, advantages in vocabulary, and vivid imagery. The present work is concerned with the question of the extent to which synaesthetes’ unusual perception is reflected in the dream state. Little is known about synaesthetes’ dreaming behaviour. Dreams are equated with the unconscious processing of the mind. An exception is a lucid dream, in which one is aware of their dreaming. In this dissociative state, it is possible to establish a connection to one's waking reality, wake up in a targeted manner, and control dream actions. Through self-report measures, participants (N=31 grapheme-colour-synaesthetes; N=32 non-synaesthetes) indicated their dream experiences and completed the Lucidity and Consciousness in Dreams scale (LuCiD scale). Synaesthetes reported lucid dream experiences significantly more often than non-synaesthetes. Qualitative differences were not found between both groups’ lucid dreamers. The two groups of lucid dreamers reported a majority of highly frequented lucidity. In addition, an association was identified between the early onset of lucid dreaming and higher values of the LuCiD scale. The results are discussed regarding the relevance of lucidity in synaesthesia within the context of consciousness research.
... This finding was supported by an experimental study, revealing that patients had more lucid dreams and were able to indicate their awareness while they were asleep using a defined eye movement signal (Dodet et al., 2015). Other findings underlined a link between the high metacognition during sleep and creativity personality profile (Zink and Pietrowsky, 2013). Interestingly, in narcoleptic patients lucid dreaming is associated with a higher creative profile, and hypnagogic hallucinations lead to higher creative success and potential, impacting on the creative identity of NT1 patients (Lacaux et al., 2019;D'Anselmo et al., 2020). ...
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Some studies highlighted that patients with narcolepsy type-1 (NT1) experience high lucid dream frequency, and this phenomenon has been associated with a creative personality. Starting from the well-known "pandemic effect" on sleep and dreaming, we presented a picture of dream activity in pharmacologically treated NT1 patients during the Italian lockdown. Forty-three NT1 patients completed a web-survey during Spring 2021 and were compared with 86 matched-controls. Statistical comparisons revealed that: (a) NT1 patients showed greater sleepiness than controls; (b) controls showed higher sleep disturbances than NT1 patients, and this result disappeared when the medication effect in NT1 was controlled; (c) NT1 patients reported higher lucid dream frequency than controls. Focusing on dreaming in NT1 patients, we found that (a) nightmare frequency was correlated with female gender, longer sleep duration, higher intrasleep wakefulness; (b) dream recall, nightmare and lucid dream frequency were positively correlated with sleepiness. Comparisons between low and high NT1 lucid dreamers showed that patients more frequently experiencing lucid dreams reported a greater influence of dreaming during wakefulness, especially concerning problem-solving and creativity. Overall, our results are consistent with previous studies on pandemic dreaming carried out on healthy subjects. Moreover, we confirmed a link between lucidity and creativity in NT1 patients. Considering the small sample size and the cross-sectional design, our findings cannot provide a causal relationship between lucid dreams and the COVID-19 lockdown. Nevertheless, they represent a first contribution to address future studies on this issue, suggesting that some stable characteristics could interact with changes provoked by the pandemic.
... There is considerable evidence to link creativity and altered states, especially dream states (Barrett, 1993;Zink & Pietrowsky, 2013). There may well be important links between dissociated states and creativity. ...
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Biculturally competent individuals may adopt flexible forms of emotional expression that help them address not only acculturation stress but also the forms of distress that affect bicultural and monocultural individuals alike. In a sample of 174 bicultural undergraduates, level of bicultural competence moderated the effects of an “existential” aspect of depression (i.e., the sense of a foreshortened future) in predicting both expressive flexibility during wakefulness and emotional flux within the content of impactful dreams. Among individuals high in bicultural competence, those who sensed a foreshortened future following loss or trauma were more likely to report: (1) feeling exploration through direct self-reflection; (2) feeling exploration through aesthetic response; and (3) spontaneous emotional flux within impactful dreams. These findings suggest that expressive flexibility among biculturally competent individuals becomes evident in their manner of identifying, understanding, and expressing emotions ...
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Research on gender differences in creativity, including creativity test scores, creative achievements, and self-reported creativity is reviewed, as are theories that have been offered to explain such differences and available evidence that supports or refutes such theories. This is a difficult arena in which to conduct research, but there is a consistent lack of gender differences both in creativity test scores and in the creative accomplishments of boys and girls (which if anything tend to favor girls). As a result, it is difficult to show how innate gender differences in creativity could possibly explain later differences in creative accomplishment. At the same time, the large difference in the creative achievement of men and women in many fields make blanket environmental explanations inadequate, and the explanations that have been proposed thus far are at best incomplete. A new theoretical framework (the APT model of creativity) is proposed to allow better understanding of what is known about gender differences in creativity.
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The Adjective Check List was administered to 7 male and 5 female samples comprising 1,701 Ss. Direct or inferred ratings of creativity were available for all Ss. The samples covered a wide range of ages and kinds of work; criteria of creativity were also varied, including ratings by expert judges, faculty members, personality assessment staff observers, and life history interviewers. The creativity scales of G. Domino (1974) and C. E. Schaefer (1972, 1973) were scored on all protocols, as were G. S. Welsh's (1975) A-1, A-2, A-3, and A-4 scales for different combinations of "origence" and "intelligence." From item analyses a new 30-item Creative Personality Scale was developed that was positively and significantly related to all 6 of the prior measures but that surpassed them in its correlations with the criterion evaluations. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
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The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between dream structure, the concept of boundary structure, and the Big Five personality dimensions. Dream structure was assessed with the recently developed Düsseldorf Dream Inventory, which is based on a factorial assessment of dream structure. Dream structure was correlated with boundary structure (Boundary Questionnaire) and personality dimensions (Big Five Inventory) in 1,958 participants in an online study. The results show that boundary structure, openness to experience and neuroticism were associated with dream structure. Participants with thin boundaries had a higher dream recall frequency (DRF), considered their dreams to be personally more significant, exhibited more bizarre and aversive dreams, and more incorporation of elements from waking life. Openness to experience was positively correlated with DRF and personal significance of dreams. Neuroticism was correlated positively with aversive dreams, more incorporation from waking life, and personal significance of dreams. The present results confirm previous correlations between dream structure and personality and identify dream structures that are relevant for these associations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Introduction The present paper introduces the three most common methods for measuring dream recall: laboratory awakenings, dream diaries and questionnaire scales. An easy applicable seven-point scale, its retest reliability and validity analyses will be presented. Patients and Methods Within several studies, 941 healthy persons rated their dream recall frequency using the scale. The retest sample (70 days retest interval) consisted of 42 patients with sleep disorders. Results The data of the healthy persons replicated the previous significant findings of gender differences (women tend to recall their dreams more often than men) and the decline of dream recall frequency with age. Retest relibility was high. Conclusions The introduced scale is well qualified for measuring interindividual differences and permits—by breaking down of the data into four age groups—comparisons with samples stemming from different settings, e. g. patient groups.
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