Article was published: PERSONALITY AND PERSONAL DIFFERENCES 22,
The present study was carried out to test whether visual memory may
function as a mediator variable in the relationship between absorption
in imaginings and dream recall frequency (DRF). 51 subjects completed two
visual memory tasks, the absorption questionnaire and estimated their dream
recall frequency. Results confirmed the findings that absorption in imaginings
is related to DRF, but did not support the above hypothesis concerning
the mediator variable visual memory.
A large variety of factors influencing dream recall frequency (DRF)
was investigated, e. g. personality dimensions, cognitive abilities, sleep
habits. The present paper will focus on the relationship between personality
and DRF. Whereas Freud's hypothesis that low DRF is mainly due to repression
has not been supported by large-scaled studies using questionnaires to
mea-sure repression (e. g. Tonay, 1993), some evidence was found for Schonbar's
(1965) so-called life-style hypothesis. She reported that more introspective,
field independent, introverted, creative persons and those who have a divergent
style of thinking and high imagination recalls their dreams more often
than repressors, extraverts, convergers and persons with low imagina-tion.
As above mentioned repression was often not substiantially correlated with
DRF, the sa-me is valid for introversion, introspectiveness and field independence
(overview: Schredl, 1995a). On the other hand, creativity (e. g. Schredl,
1995b), high imagination (e. g. Martinetti, 1985) and divergent thinking
(e. g. Fitch & Armitage, 1989) correlated significantly with DRF. In
addition, some recent investigated personality dimensions and skills such
as absorption in imaginings (Spanos et al., 1980), hypnotic ability (Belicki
& Bowers, 1981) and thick vs. thin boundaries (Hartmann, 1991) were
found to be related to DRF in a demonstrable way. The construct thin vs.
thick boundaries, for example, was developed by Hartmann (1991) as a re-sult
of his research work on chronic nightmare sufferers. They tend to have
thin boundaries, e. g. they are open, vulnerable and often mix thoughts,
images and feelings. Despite their positive findings these authors as well
as Schonbar (1965) had not given further information about the nature of
these relationships. There may exist particular variables, e. g. cognitive
skills, sleep habits which mediate these relationships. The present study
was designed to test the hypothesis whether or not visual memory which
was found to be correlated with DRF (e. g. Waterman, 1991; Schredl, Frauscher
& Shendi, 1995) functions as a mediator variable in the relationship
between DRF and a personality variable such as absorption in imaginings,
i. e. the correlation between DRF and absorption in imaginings will be
reduced if visual memory was partialled out.
Materials and Procedure
The participants were asked to estimate their dream recall frequency (DRF) on a six-point rating-scale (1 = less than once a month to 6 = almost every morning) and to assess their visual memory on a five-point rating-scale anchored by 1 = low visual memory to 5 = high vi-sual memory. They then completed a translated version of the Absorption Questionnaire (Subscale of Tellegen and Atkinson's personality inventory, 1974) used by Belicki and Bowers (1981). The scale consists of 34 Yes/No-items which measure the capacity to became absorp-tively involved in imaginative and aesthetic experience, e. g. ‘I can be greatly moved by elo-quent or poetic language’. Sum scores were computed. Since all absorption items were scored in one direction (Yes-answers) 32 unrelated items measuring other personality dimensions we-re included in the questionnaire. To conclude with, two memory tasks (subtests of the LGT-3; Bäumler, 1974) were carried out. Firstly, a part of a city map with a definite route was shown for 60 sec. Immediatly after the presentation the subjects were asked to reproduce the route on the same now empty city map. The test score is the sum of correctly reproduced segments of the route (range from 0 to 31). Secondly, 20 pictures of objects were presented simultaneously for 60 sec. The subjects were asked shortly afterwards to recall as many as possible. The num-ber of correctly cited objects was used for further analysis. Since DRF was measured on ordi-nal level, Spearman rank correlations were computed.
The characteristics of the sample are depicted in table 1. The two means of the memory tasks were comparable with age-norms given by Bäumler (1974). The distribution of DRF was as follows: 10 Ss reported dream recall almost every morning, 11 several times a week, 9 once or twice a week, 11 several times a month, 6 once or twice a month and 4 less than once a month. The interitem consistency (Crocker & Algenia, 1986) of the German absorption scale was r = .854. Spearman rank correlation between absorption in imaginings and DRF was r = .41 (p = .002, one-tailed). Partial correlation between both variables was raised two r = .43 (p < .001, one-tailed) if all three visual memory variables were partialled out. Multiple correlation of the-se three measures to DRF and absorption in imagings were r = .34 and r = .27, respectively.
Although the results supported earlier findings (Spanos et al., 1980, Belicki & Bowers, 1981) that absorption in imaginings is related to DRF the hypothesis that visual memory functions as a mediator variable in this relationship was not confirmed. Further research is war-ranted to test whether or not other possible variables, e. g. imaginative capacity, nocturnal awakenings influence the relationship between personality measures such as absorption in imaginings, hypnotic ability or thin vs. thick boundaries and DRF in order to outline a model making these relationships plausible. Another variable ‘Attitude toward dreams’ was found to mediate the correlation bet-ween DRF and several personality dimensions (Schredl, Nürnberg & Weiler, 1996). In regard to the findings that deliberate focusing an dreams increases DRF drastically (Cohen, 1969; Redfering & Keller, 1974; Halliday, 1992) it will be of interest to design an investigation in the following way: Participants who completed several personality measures and a questionnaire measuring attitude toward or interest in dreams were asked to focuse regularly on their dreams in order to increase DRF and relate these increases to attidude toward or interest in dreams and personality. These results may clarify the differential contributions of motivation to recall dreams and personality dimensions.
Bäumler, G. (1974). Lern- und Gedächtnistest (LGT-3). Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Belicki, K., & Bowers, P. (1981). The role of hypnotic ability in dream recall. Sleep Research, 10, 155.
Cohen, D. B. (1969). Frequency of dream recall estimated by three methods and related to defense preference and anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33, 661-667.
Crocker, L., & Algenia, J. (1986). Introduction to classical and modern test theory. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Fitch, T., & Armitage, R. (1989). Variations in cognitive style among high and low frequency drean recallers. Personality and Individual Differences, 10(8), 869-875.
Halliday, G. (1992). Effect of encouragement on dream recall. Dreaming, 2, 39-44.
Hartmann, E. (1991). Boundaries in the mind. New York: Basic Books.
Martinetti, R. F. (1985). Cognitive antecedents of dream recall. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 60, 395-401.
Redfering, D. L., & Keller, J. N. (1974). Influence of differential instruction on the frequency of dream recall. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 30, 268-271.
Schonbar, R. A. (1965). Differential dream recall frequency as a component of "life style". Journal of Consulting Psychology, 29, 468-474.
Schredl, M. (1995a). Traumerinnerung: Persönlichkeitsdimension oder von situativen Faktoren beeinflußt? Psychologische Beiträge, 37, 133-180.
Schredl, M. (1995b). Creativity and dream recall. Journal of Creative Behavior, 29, 16-24.
Schredl, M., Frauscher, S., & Shendi, A. (1995). Dream recall and visual memory. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 81, 256-258.
Schredl, M., Nürnberg, C., & Weiler, S. (1996). Dream recall, attitude toward dreams, and personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 20, 613-618.
Spanos, N. P., Stam, H. J., Radtke, H. L., & Nightingale, M. E. (1980). Absorption in imagi-nings, sex-role orientation and the recall of dreams by males and females. Journal of Personality Assessment, 44, 227-282.
Tellegen, A., & Atkinson, G. (1974). Openness to absorbing and self-altering experiences ("absorption"), a trait related to hypnotic susceptibility. Journal of Abnormal Psycholo-gy, 83, 268-277.
Tonay, V. K. (1993). Personality correlates of dream recall: Who remembers? Dreaming, 3, 1-8.
Waterman, D. (1991). Aging and memory for dreams. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 73, 355-365.
Variable ..................................................M .±
absorption in imaginings........................... 20.92 ± 6.25.................6 - 33
selfassessment of visual memory.............. 3.35 ± 0.86...................1 - 5
Subtest ‘pictures’.....................................13.25 ± 2.28................. 8 - 17
Subtest ‘city map’................................... 20.35 ± 2.28................. 8 - 31