Dream Content and Political Ideology

Abstract

This pilot study focuses on the relationship of dream content and political ideology in a contemporary U.S. context. The study involved 56 people, 28 (14 male and 14 female) who identified themselves as members of the political right and 28 (14 male and 14 female) who identified themselves as members of the political left. “Most recent dream” reports from these subjects were analyzed using Hall and Van de Castle content analysis categories. Following that quantitative analysis, each dream was analyzed in terms of its narrative qualities (themes, images, emotional patterns, etc.). Although the small size of the study makes it impossible to offer definitive interpretations, the findings are suggestive: people on the political right had more nightmares, more dreams in which they lacked personal power, and a greater frequency of “lifelike” dreams; people on the political left had fewer nightmares, more dreams in which they had personal power, and a greater frequency of good fortunes and bizarre elements in their dreams. These findings have plausible correlations to certain features of the political ideologies of people on the left and the right, and merit future investigation in larger-scale studies.

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Bulkeley, K. Dream Content and Political Ideology. Dreaming 12, 61–77 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015398822122

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  • dream content
  • political ideology
  • political right
  • political left