Male-female ratio in waking-life contacts and dream characters

Franc Paul, Michael Schredl

Abstract


One of the well established findings in dream research is the discrepancy between men’s and women’s dream character sex ratio, i.e. men dream more often about men but women show no such difference. Some studies stress the fact of such a ubiquitous difference by showing that for example a person’s relationship status alters these rates. The present study investigated the relationship between the sex ratio of dream characters and waking-life social contact patterns. Sixty-one participants kept a dream diary for two weeks as well as a daytime diary to thoroughly record all waking contacts in terms of duration and number of characters. After the two weeks all participants had to fill out a retrospective questionnaire about their contact patterns in the inquiry period. Both genders spent an equal amount of their waking time with men (female participants 41%, male participants 43%) and generally more time with women. Looking at the dream reports, men reveal more male characters (61%) than women (48%) but this difference barely missed significance (p = 0.0731; d = 0.518). We separated the female participants into singles and non-singles and calculated male ratios for both subgroups respectively to look for factors other than gender that may influence the ratio. Daytime prospective measures reveal that women in a relationship spent twice the time with men (50%) compared to singles (26%). Furthermore, female participants in a relationship dream significantly more about men (54%) than those without a partner (36%). Results suggest that there are other factors than gender per se contributing for the different male ratios in women’s compared to men’s dreams.

Keywords


dream content; gender difference; continuity hypothesis; social contacts; male/female percent

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2012.2.9406