Dreaming of You: Behavior and Emotion in Dreams of Significant Others Predict Subsequent Relational Behavior
Dylan F. Selterman, Adela I. Apetroaia, Suzanne Riela, Arthur Aron
This study examined the extent to which dreams of close others would predict subsequent waking experiences with those partners, suggesting a process for the effects of dreams parallel to findings on ‘‘priming’’ as observed in other contexts. Participants in committed relationships completed measures of attachment and relationship health (interdependence), followed by a 2-week diary of dream reports and interactions with their partners. Multilevel modeling results indicated (among other effects) that certain types of content (e.g., infidelity) and emotions (e.g., jealousy) in participants’ dream reports were associated with less intimate feelings and more conflict with their partners on subsequent days. These associations were unidirectional and they remained significant while controlling for trait attachment styles, overall relationship heath, and the previous day’s activity, thus identifying for the first time a unique and important role for dreams in affecting relationship behaviors.