Longitudinal studies of gender differences in cognitional process in dream content

  • Patrick McNamara (Author)
    VA Boston Healthcare System; Northcentral University
  • Victoria Pae (Author)
    VA New England Healthcare System
  • Brian Teed (Author)
    VA Boston Healthcare System
  • Yorghos Tripodis (Author)
    Boston University School of Public Health
  • Adonai Sebastian (Author)
    VA Boston Healthcare System

Identifiers (Article)


We assessed the longitudinal effects of a cognitive processing variable (automated count of words indicating cognitive processing in a dream narrative) on other dream content variables in dream series collected from 37 men and 46 women over a two year period. Dreams were obtained from the online dream posting website dreamboard.com. Using mixed effects regression modeling for longitudinal data we found that on a month by month basis cognitive processing is significantly associated with markers of grammatical complexity (verbs and function words), the personal pronoun I, social processes, health and emotion (both negative and positive). All but the perceptual processes variables had a significantly different effect on cognitive processing for men vs women with men having a greater association to processing resources with these matters than women. Men exhibited a significantly positive rate of change in cognitive processing on a monthly basis, while women did not show a significant rate of change over time. These results suggest that people use dreams to “work through” or cognitively process selected types of emotional information and the rate at which they do so appears to increase, at least for men.


How to Cite
McNamara, P., Pae, V., Teed, B., Tripodis, Y., & Sebastian, A. (2016). Longitudinal studies of gender differences in cognitional process in dream content. International Journal of Dream Research, 9(1), 40–45. https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2016.1.26552