Measuring emotions in dreams: Effects of dream length and personality
There are different methods to measure emotions in dreams: self-ratings and external ratings by blind judges. Previous research indicated that the measurement technique has a strong effect on the findings, e.g., the ratio of negative to positive dreams is much higher for findings based on external ratings compared to findings based on self-ratings. In the present study, 1207 diary dreams reported by 413 participants were included. The participants rated the intensity of positive and negative dream emotions on two four-point scales; a blind external judge applied the same two emotion scales. The results confirmed previous findings that external judges underestimate emotional intensity in general – more so for positive emotions – but the correlations between self-ratings and external ratings are satisfactory. Higher mean word count, extraversion, and neuroticism are related to smaller differences between self-ratings and external ratings. Future studies should investigate how the instruction of reporting all experienced emotions explicitly, especially positive emotions, could influence the difference between self-ratings and external ratings.