To sleep, perchance to dream: The Relationship Between Dreams and Creativity Kristi Helmkamp Angie Miller Current dream research Cognitive model: dreams as recombination of memories (Stickgold et al., 2001) Links to other realms of research: relationship between dream recall frequency and Openness (Blagrove & Akehurst, 2000) Influences of dreams Qualitative study of American artists found dreams can be influential in the creative process, both directly and indirectly (Gaines & Price-Williams (1990) Suggested that dreams model the free association that is part of creative process (DeAngelis, 2003) Creativity Divergent thinking model: outside bounds of normal functional thinking (Baer, 1993) Relationships found between creativity and – Openness (Taggar & Simon, 2002) – Dream recall frequency (Wolcott & Strapp, 2002) – Dream detail (Wolcott & Strapp, 2002) – Positive attitudes about dreams (Domino, 1982) Underlying Theoretical Assumptions Creativity is something in which individuals actively engage Creativity is defined as divergent thought processes – There are multiple expressions of creativity, such as visual and verbal Some of these expressions are considered conscious Other expressions of creativity may be considered nonconscious, for example, dreams Hypothesis Individuals high in creativity, understood as divergent thinking in the visual and verbal domains, will have dreams high in creativity. Participants 16 participants completed all measures – 14 Intro. Psych classes (given extra credit) – 2 Volunteers – 4 male, 12 female – Ranging in age from 18 to 22 Methods Dream journal Unusual uses test Collage-making task (Baer, 1993) Dream Journal Methodologically better for examination of content (Blagrove & Akehurst, 2000) 10 days, at least 3 dreams Randomly selecting one dream from each participant Coding Manual # of “bizarre” # of settings elements # of people # of references to # of vivid details speaking # of colors referenced # of animals # of inanimate objects Sample Dream Coding Worksheet Subject Settings People Color Objects Animal Vivid Bizarre # Detail Element 2541 5 12 1 10 2 45 3 3321 1 3 0 1 0 16 0 1234 4 6 0 5 1 33 1 Coding Manual Reliability Used dreams not included in the final analysis to establish reliability of coding manual Used objective coder from Research Methods class to test coding manual Slight modifications were made, such as clarifications about ambiguous plurals Then tested a second round of practice dreams with revised coding manual Each element had reliability of alpha at .95 or above Unusual Uses Test 4 minutes Participants asked to generate as many responses as possible to question: “What can you do with an object?” Table knife, alarm clock, newspaper, and cup Measures divergent thinking Coding of Unusual Uses Test IDEATIONAL FLUENCY Counted number of responses for all four objects IDEATIONAL FLEXIBILITY Table knife was the object randomly selected for coding Established categories of use for responses Sample Unusual Uses Coding Worksheet Ideational Fluency Score Ideational Flexibility Score ___6__ (# of responses __2__ (# of categories generated) generated) Ideational Flexibility Categories (add/fill in as necessary) Category #1 Eating Category #2 Handling – Spread butter – Pass it – Cut bread – Borrow it – Spread jelly – Wash it Reliability of Unusual Uses Test 3 independent raters to establish flexibility Correlations: rater 1 & 2: r=.79, p<.01 rater 2 & 3: r=.73, p<.01 rater 1 & 3: r=.76, p<.01 Fluency and flexibility: r=.79, p<.01 Collage-making Task Adapted from Baer (1993) Participants given colored construction paper, scissors, glue sticks 30 minutes to make an “interesting design” Rating of Collages Basic Design class (art course focused on using various materials to construct an effective design of piece) agreed to rate collages- 15 student raters Given instructions to rate on “creativity” Reliability measures: Raters: alpha= .88 Collages: alpha= .83 Results Original hypothesis was weakly supported Some findings approaching significance: – Ideational fluency & Vivid detail r=.47, p=.07 Further Findings Significant correlations: – # of Settings & Ideational Fluency Score r=.52, p<.05 – # of Settings & Ideational Flexibility Score r=.58, p<.05 – # of People & Ideational Fluency Score r=.50, p<.05 Findings between creativity measures Ideas linking different domains of creativity were also weakly supported – Collage & Ideational flexibility r=.44, p=.09 Discussion The trend of our results suggests a positive relationship between divergent thinking in the verbal domain and the content of dreams as represented through vivid detail Discussion cont. Although we chose vivid detail as a main representation of creative dreams, the relationships between the elemental aspects of setting and people with ideational fluency and flexibility suggest that dreams containing a wide variety of elements reflect creativity in the sense of divergent thinking. Discussion cont. Collage and ideational flexibility approaching significance, which shows link between visual and verbal divergent thinking – Liberal arts campus This is a movement towards supporting our theoretical assumptions of creativity as having multiple expressions in which individuals actively engage. Limitations Small N: only 16 participants Only including one dream may not be representative Need to explore appropriate measures for dream output: visual vs. written verbal Future Research Use established coding manual to investigate inherent differences, such as age and gender, in a larger, more diverse sample Develop method to align collection of data from the visual to the verbally written – A more comprehensive measure of creativity in dreams Questions? References Baer, J. (1993). Creativity and divergent thinking: A task-specific approach. Hillsdale, New Jersey: L. Earlbaum Associates. Blagrove, M. & Akehurst, L. (2000). Personality and dream recall frequency: Further negative findings. Dreaming, 10(3), 139-148. DeAngelis, T. (2003). The dream canvas. Monitor on Psychology, 34(10), 44-46. Domino, G. (1982). Attitudes towards dreams, sex differences, and creativity. Journal of Creative Behavior, 16(2), 112-122. Gaines, R., & Price-Williams, D. (1990). Dreams and imaginative processes in American and Balinese artists. Psychiatry Journal of the University of Ottawa, 15(2), 107-110. Stickgold, R., Hobson, J.A., Fosse, R., & Fosse, M. (2001). Sleep, learning, and dreams: Off-line memory processing. Science, 294(5544). Taggar, S. (2002). Individual creativity and group ability to utilize individual creative resources: A multi-level model. Academy of Management Journal, 45(2). Wolcott, S., & Strapp, C. (2002). Dream recall frequency and dream detail as mediated by personality, behavior, and attitude. Dreaming, 12(1), 27-44).
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