You’re sleeping during the night before a scheduled plane trip. Suddenly you wake up from a dream about a plane crash.
Do you still get on the plane the next day? Or do you change your travel plans because of the dream?
New research examines this and other questions about dreams. The results of six studies provide a look at how dreams affect our daily lives.
The plane crash study involved 182 commuters at a Boston train station. Results show that a dream of a plane crash is more likely to affect travel plans than a change in the U.S. government’s national threat level.
What if a plane crash had actually occurred on their route the night before their trip? Both the plane crash and the dream would produce a similar level of anxiety.
Another one of the studies shows that dreams may affect how you respond to other people. What if you had a dream in which a friend protected you rather than betrayed you?
Would the dream affect your relationship with this person? People in the study reported that they would have greater affection for the friend because of the dream.
But dreams may only reinforce what we already believe. Study subjects were told that they’d had a dream about a person they know.
They considered a pleasant dream to be more important if the person was someone they liked. An unpleasant dream was more meaningful if they disliked the person.
“People attribute meaning to dreams when it corresponds with their pre-existing beliefs and desires,” lead author Carey Morewedge said in a prepared statement.
One of the studies also examined how people from different cultures tend to interpret their dreams. It involved students from the U.S., India and South Korea.
The majority of students in each culture shared the same general belief about dreams. They believe that dreams reveal hidden truths about themselves and the world.
How important are dreams to you? Do your dreams have an effect on your daily life?