Sleep and Dreams of Conservatives and Liberals

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  1. MtnBiker

    MtnBiker Senior Member

    Sep 28, 2003
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    Sleep and Dream Patterns of Political Liberals and Conservatives

    Paper Presented at the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams

    Berkeley, California -- June 25, 2005

    Kelly Bulkeley, Ph.D.

    The Graduate Theological Union and John F. Kennedy University

    This study examines the dreams of American liberals and conservatives in order to highlight patterns that might correlate with their opposing political views. A total of 234 participants (134 self-described liberals, 100 self-described conservatives) completed a lengthy sleep and dream survey, and their answers revealed several notable patterns:

    The liberals and conservatives in this study are not radically different species, at least when it comes to sleep and dreaming. People of both political persuasions share a common substrate of basic human sleep and dream experience.

    Conservatives sleep more soundly, with fewer dreams. Liberals have more restless sleep and a more active dream life. Conservatives sleep somewhat longer, with better sleep quality; they recall fewer dreams, but report more lucid dreams (especially conservative men). Liberals (particularly liberal women) have worse sleep quality, recall a greater number and variety of dreams, and have more dreams of homosexuality.

    Liberals and conservatives report a roughly equal proportion of bad dreams and nightmares. This is different from my earlier study (using dreams gathered from 1996-2000), when the conservatives had many more nightmarish dreams than the liberals. In the present study (using dreams gathered post-September 11, 2001 to the end of 2004), the conservative frequency of negative dreams is somewhat less, while the liberal frequency is much higher. It appears liberals have become more upset and troubled in their dreams, while conservatives have become less so in theirs.

    The dreams of liberals are more bizarre than the dreams of conservatives. This is consistent with my earlier findings. Liberals have more dreams with unusual, distorted, fantastic elements than conservatives, whose dreams are more likely to portray normal characters, settings, and activities.


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