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Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy / Mark, Blagrove; Alex, Jones; Michelle, Carr

Frontiers in Psychology, Volume: 10

Swansesa University Authors: Mark, Blagrove, Alex, Jones, Michelle, Carr

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Abstract

In general, dreams are a novel but realistic simulation of waking social life, with amixture of characters, motivations, scenarios, and positive and negative emotions.We propose that the sharing of dreams has an empathic effect on the dreamer andon significant others who hear and engage with the tel...

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Published in: Frontiers in Psychology
ISSN: 1664-1078
Published: 2019
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spelling 2019-08-01T12:44:54.0967205 v2 50563 2019-05-29 Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy 8c78ee008e650b9f0a463bae56a5636c 0000-0002-9854-1854 Mark Blagrove Mark Blagrove true false a24e1e2a89b0a9120fe03b481a629edd 0000-0003-3600-3644 Alex Jones Alex Jones true false 892af5142bbe0a6c3dbb1f26f325ab02 0000-0003-0399-0196 Michelle Carr Michelle Carr true false 2019-05-29 HPS In general, dreams are a novel but realistic simulation of waking social life, with amixture of characters, motivations, scenarios, and positive and negative emotions.We propose that the sharing of dreams has an empathic effect on the dreamer andon significant others who hear and engage with the telling of the dream. Study 1 teststhree correlations that are predicted by the theory of dream sharing and empathy:that trait empathy will be correlated with frequency of telling dreams to others, withfrequency of listening to others’ dreams, and with trait attitude toward dreams (ATD)(for which higher scores indicate positive attitude). 160 participants completed onlinethe Toronto Empathy Questionnaire and the Mannheim Dream Questionnaire. Pearsonpartial correlations were conducted, with age and sex partialled out. Trait empathywas found to be significantly associated with the frequency of listening to the dreamsof others, frequency of telling one’s own dreams to others, and attitude towarddreams. Study 2 tests the effects of discussing dreams on state empathy, using anadapted version of the Shen (2010) state empathy scale, for 27 pairs of dream sharersand discussers. Dream discussion followed the stages of the Ullman (1996) dreamappreciation technique. State empathy of the dream discusser toward the dream sharerwas found to increase significantly as a result of the dream discussion, with a mediumeffect size, whereas the dream sharer had a small decrease in empathy toward thediscusser. A proposed mechanism for these associations and effects is taken fromthe robust findings in the literature that engagement with literary fiction can induceempathy toward others. We suggest that the dream acts as a piece of fiction thatcan be explored by the dreamer together with other people, and can thus induceempathy about the life circumstances of the dreamer. We discuss the speculation thatthe story-like characteristics of adult human dreams may have been selected for inhuman evolution, including in sexual selection, as part of the selection for emotionalintelligence, empathy, and social bonding. Journal Article Frontiers in Psychology 10 1664-1078 dreaming, empathy, social simulation, dream sharing, human bonding, human evolution and behavior, human consciousness, consciousness 1 6 2019 2019-06-01 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01351 COLLEGE NANME Psychology COLLEGE CODE HPS Swansea University 2019-08-01T12:44:54.0967205 2019-05-29T15:52:36.7672329 College of Human and Health Sciences Psychology Mark Blagrove 0000-0002-9854-1854 1 Alex Jones 0000-0003-3600-3644 2 Michelle Carr 0000-0003-0399-0196 3 Output Version of Record true 2019-06-23T00:00:00.0000000 Released under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). true eng
title Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy
spellingShingle Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy
Mark, Blagrove
Alex, Jones
Michelle, Carr
title_short Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy
title_full Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy
title_fullStr Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy
title_full_unstemmed Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy
title_sort Testing the Empathy Theory of Dreaming: The Relationships Between Dream Sharing and Trait and State Empathy
author_id_str_mv 8c78ee008e650b9f0a463bae56a5636c
a24e1e2a89b0a9120fe03b481a629edd
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author_id_fullname_str_mv 8c78ee008e650b9f0a463bae56a5636c_***_Mark, Blagrove
a24e1e2a89b0a9120fe03b481a629edd_***_Alex, Jones
892af5142bbe0a6c3dbb1f26f325ab02_***_Michelle, Carr
author Mark, Blagrove
Alex, Jones
Michelle, Carr
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container_title Frontiers in Psychology
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institution Swansea University
issn 1664-1078
doi_str_mv 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01351
college_str College of Human and Health Sciences
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hierarchy_top_id collegeofhumanandhealthsciences
hierarchy_top_title College of Human and Health Sciences
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hierarchy_parent_title College of Human and Health Sciences
department_str Psychology{{{_:::_}}}College of Human and Health Sciences{{{_:::_}}}Psychology
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description In general, dreams are a novel but realistic simulation of waking social life, with amixture of characters, motivations, scenarios, and positive and negative emotions.We propose that the sharing of dreams has an empathic effect on the dreamer andon significant others who hear and engage with the telling of the dream. Study 1 teststhree correlations that are predicted by the theory of dream sharing and empathy:that trait empathy will be correlated with frequency of telling dreams to others, withfrequency of listening to others’ dreams, and with trait attitude toward dreams (ATD)(for which higher scores indicate positive attitude). 160 participants completed onlinethe Toronto Empathy Questionnaire and the Mannheim Dream Questionnaire. Pearsonpartial correlations were conducted, with age and sex partialled out. Trait empathywas found to be significantly associated with the frequency of listening to the dreamsof others, frequency of telling one’s own dreams to others, and attitude towarddreams. Study 2 tests the effects of discussing dreams on state empathy, using anadapted version of the Shen (2010) state empathy scale, for 27 pairs of dream sharersand discussers. Dream discussion followed the stages of the Ullman (1996) dreamappreciation technique. State empathy of the dream discusser toward the dream sharerwas found to increase significantly as a result of the dream discussion, with a mediumeffect size, whereas the dream sharer had a small decrease in empathy toward thediscusser. A proposed mechanism for these associations and effects is taken fromthe robust findings in the literature that engagement with literary fiction can induceempathy toward others. We suggest that the dream acts as a piece of fiction thatcan be explored by the dreamer together with other people, and can thus induceempathy about the life circumstances of the dreamer. We discuss the speculation thatthe story-like characteristics of adult human dreams may have been selected for inhuman evolution, including in sexual selection, as part of the selection for emotionalintelligence, empathy, and social bonding.
published_date 2019-06-01T03:59:47Z
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