Welcome to the Circadia blog where we demystify dreams, analyze dream data with many methods and explore what is known and unknown about dreaming.
We - scientists, anthropologists, marketers - don’t know much about the contents of people's dreams or how it varies by gender, age, location and any number of individual differences. In fact, unless we make a conscious effort to write down our own dreams, we often forget what happened. But research has shown that most people believe dreams are important, contain hidden meanings, or information they should act on.
As psychological researchers, we try to understand how people think and behave. Examining dreams allows us to add another layer of information to what we can learn about individuals. Given that our brain operates 24 hours/ day, there is good reason to believe the content of our dreams could provide rich insight into who we are. This could have interesting implications for mental health: are some types of dreams associated with happiness and well-being in waking life? Is it possible to identify individuals suffering from PTSD or depression by detecting certain patterns in their dreams?
Circadia labs is dedicated to exploring this untapped value in dreams. We’ve begun by examining a large dataset of dreams shared on DreamsCloud, the social network for dreams. We are using a combination of quantitative, qualitative, human and machine methods and will be sharing our findings with you over time.
Using these techniques, we have discovered some interesting things about dreams. For example, our first qualitative cut of the data reveals that negative dreams are reported more often than neutral or positive dreams. There are several different themes that pop up on a regular basis in dreams from different people. Furthermore, there are distinct dream types that feel very different when we experience them. Over the coming weeks we will be exploring these findings and others in greater detail. The research we share with you here is another step towards learning how dream analysis can complement other research to help us understand human psychological functioning.
Keep reading the blog to learn more about what we found in this dream data, and let us know if you have any questions or ideas about the nature of dreams!