We all have wild dreams from time to time but have you ever dreamed of committing murder? Apparently, those who have are much more creative than the rest of us.

A study published not long ago led by Jonas Mathes at the Institute for Experimental Psychology from Heinrich-Heine University Dusseldorf seems to suggest violent ‘nightmares’ say a lot more about us than we think. While his team intended to find out how often people were to have dreams in which they committed violent acts they were able to come to some pretty interesting conclusions. They were able to find that those who had these violent dreams were much more creative.

This study consisted of two parts and, of course, involved two groups of people. These people had nightmares frequently, both groups were assessed for aggression using a psychology questionnaire. Somewhere between 18-28 percent of all dreams reported in the first group’s diaries involved aggression against another person. It seems violent dreams are much more common than you’d think.

The abstract of this study goes as follows:

Being the victim of an aggressor in nightmares is quite common for most persons, but there are also nightmares where the dream-self can become the offender. Two studies were conducted in two nonclinical samples of participants with frequent nightmares to investigate the so-called offender-nightmares. Study 1 served to assess the frequency of offender-nightmares in persons with frequent nightmares and the motives and actions in these dreams during a 28-day interval, whereas in Study 2, correlations to personality variables were investigated. The results indicate that the occurrence of offender-nightmares is not negligible; about 18% to 28% of the reported nightmares were classified as offender-nightmares. Most of the aggressive acts in these dreams were intentional, and killing a person was the most prominent offender’s act, with self-defense being the most common motive. Persons with offender-nightmares were also found to have been more violent in the past than persons without offender-nightmares and persons without nightmares. In addition, they scored higher in neuroticism and aggression, reported more creative achievements than persons without nightmares, and had more creative achievements than persons without offender-nightmares. The results suggest that offender-nightmares are rather common in people who frequently have nightmares and that these dreams are related to aggressiveness, creativity, and previous violent experiences.

While more research still needs to be done in regards to this, is a very thought-provoking find. It seems that during their dreams these people’s minds were able to really make sense of the emotions they were most likely feeling. These are the things they were perhaps suppressing coming to light at least in a mild manner.  What do you think?


Leave a Reply