Dream depictions of the ‘unperceivable’ object of emotional loss

  • Robert Kunzendorf (Author)
  • Ryan J. Savage (Author)
  • Kevin R. Doherty (Author)
  • Christopher L. Smith (Author)
  • Ryan M. Powell (Author)
  • Danielle F. Belliveau (Author)
  • Glen P. Erickson (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


After loved ones are dead and buried, wakeful feelings of loss have no perceivable object of loss.  Do dreamed feelings of loss also have no object of loss, or is emotional loss in dreams indirectly pictured, perhaps symbolically?  Presently, the feeling of loss in 100 student artists’ dreams was correlated with third-party ratings of visible contents in the artists’ dream depictions and with artist-identified dream symbols.  Dreamer reports of emotional loss in a dream were associated with dreamer identifications of a “symbolic” noose or “symbolic” flowers in the dream or with nothing but sky in one frame of the dream depiction.  In addition, third-party raters’ perceptions of emotional loss in a dream depiction were associated with other raters’ perceptions of the presence of sky and the dearth of greenness in the depiction.  Possible reasons why these particular dream contents visually betoken the ‘unperceivable’ object of loss are discussed.



Supplementary Content

Art, Dreams, Loss, Symbols
How to Cite
Kunzendorf, R., Savage, R. J., Doherty, K. R., Smith, C. L., Powell, R. M., Belliveau, D. F., & Erickson, G. P. (2014). Dream depictions of the ‘unperceivable’ object of emotional loss. International Journal of Dream Research, 7(2), 148–152. https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2014.2.14724