Dream content analysis using Artificial Intelligence

  • Patrick McNamara (Author)
    Boston University School of Medicine
  • Kelly Duffy-Deno (Author)
  • Tom Marsh (Author)
  • Thomas Jr. Marsh (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


We developed a dream content analysis system (DCAS) based on an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that was trained using a relatively large corpus of over 35,000 dreams.  This sample of dreams were supplied by 424 female and 211 male users over 4 years who had posted them at the dream posting website and app Dreamboard.com. Building upon previous dream content ontologies developed by Hall, Van de Castle, Domhoff and Bulkeley, forty-seven reliably identified dream themes emerged from repeated application of algorithm and agent training procedures. DCAS reproduced most of the key dream content themes from these previous ontologies but also returned some unexpected findings. Mixed-model estimation detected significant male-female content differences for 34 dream themes, with female dreams evidencing higher incidence percentages for most themes, but effect sizes were small. Mixed-model logistic regression identified those themes that best predicted self-reported positive or negative mood associated with dreams.  We conclude that the AI-based DCAS algorithm developed here is a promising tool for detailed analyses of dream content patterns.


dreams, dream content, artificial intelligence
How to Cite
McNamara, P., Duffy-Deno, K., Marsh, T., & Marsh, T. J. (2019). Dream content analysis using Artificial Intelligence. International Journal of Dream Research, 12(1), 42–52. https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2019.1.48744