Lambert (2015): MSc thesis: Personality characteristics of dreamers


A Study on the Personality Characteristics of
Joshua Lambert

Nightmares are frightening dreams that cause the dreamer to wake, with the events that
occur within the nightmare well remembered after awakening. There are those who
experience nightmares frequently (at least one nightmare a week). While studying
nightmares, Hartmann (1989, 1991) theorized a distinct personality trait he referred to as
boundaries of the mind, and conceptualized a boundary continuum ranging from thin
boundaries to thick boundaries. Those with thin boundaries were hypothesized to express
permeability between cognitive processes, whereas those with thick boundaries are
thought to better separate cognitive processes. Those who experience frequent nightmares
are typically shown to report thinner boundaries than those who do not experience
frequent nightmares. Those who frequently lucid dream – which has been defined as the
ability for a dreamer to recognize that he or she is asleep while in a dream and then
manipulate the content of the dream, or observe the dream passively – have also been
reported to have thin boundaries. Among other things, people may engage in lucid
dreaming in order to cope with nightmares. The current study sought to explore shared
personality traits of those who experience frequent nightmares and frequent lucid dreams.


About Tore Nielsen

Researcher at University of Montreal and Director of Dream & Nightmare Laboratory
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