1 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1998, Vol. 75, No. 1, Copyright 1998 by the American Psychological Association, Inc /98/S3.00 The Effects of Current-Concern- and Nonconcern-Related Waking Suggestions on Nocturnal Dream Content Charles D. Nikles II, David L. Brecht, Eric Klinger, and Amy L. Bursell University of Minnesota, Morris In previous research, presleep suggestions influenced nocturnal dream content. It was hypothesized that suggesting topics associated with participants' current concerns would influence dream content more than suggesting other topics. Ten students spent 4 nights in a sleep laboratory: an adaptation night, a baseline night, and 2 nights under suggestions to dream about a concern-related or other topic. Concern-related suggestions influenced dream content largely its central imagery more than did other suggestions, which did not differ from nonsuggestion. Number of transformations within dreams was uncorrelated with dream vividness, contrary to extended activation-synthesis theory. Thus, the concern-related status of suggestions moderates their effectiveness and, inconsistent with extended activation-synthesis theory but consistent with current-concerns and distributed-activation theories, motivational and volitional processes actively influence dream content. The study of motivational influences on dream content has traditionally contributed to advances in the understanding of personality (e.g., Freud, 1900/1961), especially when personality is viewed as ' 'the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment" (Allport, 1937, p. 48). The present investigation provides additional evidence on the influence of motivational factors, among the systems dynamically organized within personality, on the shaping of subjective experience in this instance, on the flow of dream content. Previous research has shown that verbal stimuli introduced during sleep influence dream content insofar as they are related to participants' current concerns (Hoelscher, Klinger, & Barta, 1981). Other research has indicated that suggesting to people who are about to fall asleep that they dream about particular topics sometimes influences subsequent dreams (e.g., Walker & Johnson, 1974). However, the successful suggestions were often Charles D. Nikles II, David L. Brecht, Eric Klinger, and Amy L. Bursell, Division of Social Sciences, University of Minnesota, Morris. Charles D. Nikles II and Amy L. Bursell are now at the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. David L. Brecht is now at Hopkins High School, Hopkins, Minnesota. Charles D. Nikles II and David L. Brecht contributed equally to the design, execution, analysis, and reporting of this study. This research was funded in part by grants from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Minnesota and the Morris Academic Partnership program at the University of Minnesota, Morris. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Timothy J. Ray in essential technical support, Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain in the analysis and reporting of the data, and Nicole A. Herdina and Joline C. Ness in the ratings of dream properties. We also greatly appreciate the assistance of Bryon Peasly and Amanda Schanus with electrode application and dream report transcription, respectively. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Eric Klinger, Division of Social Sciences, University of Minnesota, Morris, Minnesota Electronic mail may be sent to of emotionally arousing topics. The present investigation probes the further question of whether such suggestions are effective primarily when the suggested topic is associated with one of the dreamer's current concerns. This possibility is inferable from current-concerns theory, which originated as a comprehensive psychological theory of conscious mental flow (Klinger, 1971), including the flow of dream content. The construct of current concern refers to a goal-specific latent state of an organism between the time it becomes committed to a goal and the consummation or abandonment of the goal (Klinger, 1971,1975,1977). There is a different current concern corresponding to each of an individual's goals. Although current concerns are associated with conscious thoughts, other cognitive processing, and emotional responses related to the goal pursuit, the construct itself refers to a nonconscious, time-binding brain process that underlies the goal pursuit and its conscious manifestations. In its present form, current-concerns theory predicts that becoming committed to any goal potentiates emotional responses to and cognitive processing of cues associated with that goal pursuit (Klinger, 1971, 1977, 1996). The emotional responding (called protoemotional in its initial phases) begins within at most about 300 ms of the stimulus and possibly within the first 100 ms (Klinger, Goetzman, Hughes, & Seppelt, 1996). Depending on the ability of the stimulus to satisfy certain criteria, cognitive processing is terminated or carried forward, potentially to the point of conscious thought or dreaming. This is a motivational and volitional effect in the sense that pursuing a goal (and hence having a current concern about that goal) disposes toward processing of its cues, which leads to incorporating elements of the goal pursuit into dream content (Klinger, 1971, 1990). Because concern-related cues are processed in preference to others, cues unrelated to current concerns will have, at best, much weaker effects. This differential effect has been demonstrated for stimuli experimentally introduced during sleep (Hoelscher et al., 1981) as well as in a wide range of waking cognitive investigations (Klinger, 1996). It also pre- 242
2 CONCERNS, SUGGESTIONS, AND DREAMS 243 sumably operates under natural conditions, in which the cues would be largely contained in the preceding mentational stream itself. Although the effect may well be weaker for presleep cues, current-concerns theory would still predict that people will more easily carry out an intention to dream about particular topics when these represent current concerns that is, when the volitional force of that intention (a current concern in its own right) coalesces with the already existing disposition to process in dreams the naturally occurring cues of that topic. The idea that motivational variables influence dream content is ancient. The role of wish and wish fulfillment was central to Freud's (1990/1961) theory. In more recent times, the validity of current concerns and related motivational processes as influences on dreams has received various kinds of empirical support and has been acknowledged, though not systematically developed, in major contemporary dream theories, such as in a psychological extension (Seligman & Yellen, 1987) of the neuroscience-focused activation-synthesis theory (Hobson, 1988; Hobson & McCarley, 1977), in the cognitive-modeling approach of distributed-activation theory (Antrobus, 1991), and in a critical synthesis of research on dream content (Domhoff, 1996). However, the nature of the motivational influence varies in these latter theories. In activation-synthesis theory, the sense of plot and meaning in dreams is supplied by the dreamer's cognitive integration (synthesis) of the images produced by the activations. Hobson seems not to have systematically delineated a role for motivation here in fact, he has appeared to deny such a role in his more formal statements about the theory although in his examples of dream interpretation (Hobson, 1988) he implied that being concerned about something increases the likelihood of associated ideas becoming part of the cognitive synthesis by which dreamers make sense of and construct plots around the essentially chaotic, random images triggered by the neural bursts. Thus, Hobson (1988) asserted that his dream about Mozart "meant" "I would love to see Mozart," clearly a motivational influence on content selection, but one that he appears to rule out in emphasizing the independence of pontine bursts from psychological processes (p. 220). This issue is explored further in a later section. Antrobus (1991), on the other hand, proposed a model in which motivational factors interact reciprocally and continuously with imaginal, conceptual, and motor factors in ways that determine dream content: "[a] better model for dreaming may be one which integrates the information both within and between modality-specific, motivational, conceptual, and motor modules in parallel. That is, the information in each module constrains the processes of the others" (p. 108). Furthermore, the linear influences of goal states and motivation can be represented in DREAMIT:S [a model of imagery and thought] by assigning... bias values to particular local units in a network.... [The process will therefore come] to respond differently to the external input as a function of different plan states, (p. 117) Depending on the precise definitions, this feature of Antrobus's model corresponds to a long-held tenet of current-concerns theory (Klinger, 1971, 1975, 1996) and is consistent with its hypotheses regarding effects on dreaming. This investigation, which assessed the effects of suggesting concern-related and concern-unrelated topics to dreamers, thus served a number of ends: (a) it sought to refine information regarding the conditions for successful presleep suggestions of dream topics, (b) it tested a derivation from current-concerns theory, (c) it assessed consistency with two other major contemporary formulations of dreaming, and (d) it provided a test of a further derivation from one of them. Previous Evidence for Effects of Suggestions on Dream Content Research has demonstrated that nocturnal dreams and thoughts can be influenced by presleep suggestions. Stoyva (1965) found that a posthypnotic suggestion, administered just before sleep onset, to dream about a certain topic influenced the content of the REM dreams reported by highly hypnotizable participants. Half of these participants, after a posthypnotic suggestion to dream about a narrative that had been played during the trance, reported relevant dream content (Tart, 1967). In a similar study, approximately two thirds of all dream reports incorporated elements of the suggested narrative (Tart & Dick, 1970). Barber, Walker, and Hahn (1973) showed further that suggestions affected nocturnal thoughts (reported mostly from NREM periods) as well as dreams and that for suggestions to have an effect, participants needed to be neither highly hypnotizable nor hypnotized. The greatest effects on dreams were obtained when authoritatively worded suggestions (""fou will dream about..." ) were used with hypnotized participants and permissively worded suggestions ("Try to dream about...") were used with unhypnotized participants. These previous researchers did not systematically manipulate the content of the suggestions given. They have therefore left an important question unanswered: Which properties of suggestions determine how much they affect dreams? Stoyva (1965) instructed participants to dream about simple action sequences, such as "climbing a tree" and "rowing a boat." Tart (1967) played a recorded narrative that placed the participant in a threatening situation. Tart and Dick (1970) played narratives selected to be "detailed, interesting, pleasant, and emotionally involving'' (p. 305). Barber et al. (1973) instructed participants to dream about the assassination of President Kennedy, which had occurred less than a year before the study was conducted. Thus, all participants in each of these studies received either identical suggestions or suggestions of the same general type. In each instance, the suggested dream topics were emotionally evocative, but whether this or other properties of the suggestions contributed to their effectiveness cannot be determined from these data. An investigation that did manipulate suggested dream topics (Foulkes & Griffin, 1976) found no effects of any kind of suggestion on dream content. The chief manipulation was a distinction between the lists from which the suggested dream topic was randomly selected: a list of dream topics suggested by participants or a list proposed by the investigators. The dream topics listed by participants would most likely have been associated with participants' current concerns and would be predicted to have yielded greater incorporation. However, this investigation used nonlaboratory, morning-after dream recall. The judges'
3 244 NIKLES, BRECHT, KLINGER, AND BURSELL task was to infer from each participant's dreams which of the originally listed dream topics had actually been selected. Given the low level and complex selectivity of longer term dream recall, and given the all-or-none judgment requested of the judges rather than a rating of incorporation, this method may simply have been too blunt an instrument for testing these hypotheses. Indications From Nonsuggestion Presleep Manipulations There is a substantial literature regarding the effects of presleep stimuli, without suggestions to dream about them, on subsequent dream content (Arkin & Antrobus, 1991; Cartwright, 1974; Cohen, 1972,1979; Cohen & Cox, 1975; Kuiken, Rindlisbacher, & Nielsen, 1991; Saredi, Baylor, Meier, & Strauch, 1995). This is not the place to repeat such a review. The results of more recent investigations, which show quite varied effects of presleep nonsuggestion stimuli, are consistent with results in earlier literature reviewed by Arkin and Antrobus (1991): There was very little direct incorporation of such stimulation into dreams, and there was an array of indirect effects that appeared to vary from one experiment to the next. This appeared to be true whether participants were passive recipients of stimulation or active participants in creating stimulation. The possible exception was presumably concern-related activity as in Cartwright's (1974) study, in which there was some evidence of significant direct incorporation. There has been too little exact replication of methods to establish which of the indirect effects might be stable and predictable. The relevant conclusion for the hypotheses of this investigation, which focused on direct incorporation, is that there is very little such incorporation of presleep stimuli that are unrelated to participants' current concerns, and the evidence for incorporation of unsuggested presleep stimuli that are concern-related (in comparison with concerns not cued before sleep) is at best uneven. (This is a sharply different conclusion from that relating to personally relevant stimulation during sleep; Hoelscher et al., 1981). Evidence for Differential Effects of Current- Concern-Related Stimuli on Dream Content and for Emotional Mediation Investigations pursued within the framework of current-concerns theory (Hoelscher et al., 1981; Klinger, 1975, 1977, 1987, 1996) have indicated that suggestions of dream topics that are emotionally evocative and thematically relevant to participants' goal pursuits are likely to influence dreams more than would emotionally and motivationally neutral topics. This is because current concerns potentiate cognitive responses to concern-related cues and because this effect is probably at least partly mediated by emotional processes. Concern Effects on Cognition Research has shown that current concerns influence cognitive processes in both waking and sleeping participants. For instance, people are especially responsive to environmental cues that pertain to their current concerns (Klinger, 1978), and they continue to screen for concern-related stimuli while asleep (Hoelscher et al., 1981). Exposure to current-concern-related stimuli influences thought and dream content much more strongly than exposure to concern-unrelated stimuli, regardless of whether participants are awake or asleep in REM states. Parallel effects occur on attention and recall (Klinger, 1978). The fact that the effect occurs during sleep indicates that it is involuntary and automatic, a conclusion confirmed by evidence on interference effects of concern-related distractors in lexical decision (Young, 1987) and emotional Stroop tasks (Cox & Blount, 1995; Johnsen, Laberg, Cox, Vaksdal, & Hugdahl, 1994; Riemann, Amir, & Louro, 1995; Riemann & McNally, 1995). Emotional Mediation Indirect evidence has suggested that these effects are mediated by emotional processes (Klinger, 1996). That is, the effect of committing oneself to a goal is to potentiate protoemotional responses to cues associated with the goal pursuit, and these responses in turn instigate cognitive processing of the cues. To at least some extent, therefore, protoemotional responses control subsequent cognitive processing. This sequencing is possible because the emotional features of at least verbal stimuli are processed soon after stimulus presentation, probably before full semantic processing has been completed (Bock & Klinger, 1995; Klinger, 1996). The likely role of emotional influences specifically on dreams was suggested in an earlier investigation (Piccione, Jacobs, Kramer, & Roth, 1977). Participants' daily events that were most often incorporated into their sleep-laboratory dreams were associated with more intense emotions than were other daily events. This suggests that the mediational evidence found in waking cognition extends to dreams as well. Implications for Suggested Dreams The experimental part of the above evidence examined effects of concern-related immediate stimuli on ongoing cognitive and dream activity. However, one might expect that these effects would generalize to presleep suggestions of dream topics. That is, because current-concern-related topics are relevant to people's goals and have high emotional value, they may be more effective as suggestion topics than concern-unrelated topics. There are at least two possible mechanisms for producing concern-related topics' greater effectiveness. First, suggesting concern-related material as dream topics associates the suggestion with existing motivational structures, the current concerns, thereby increasing the likelihood of retaining the suggestion. Second, it primes the already existing tendency toward emotional and cognitive response to stimuli related to the suggested concern, including those stimuli existing within the dreamer's own stream of sleep mentation. These consequences of suggesting concern-related dream topics, then, provide predictions within the current-concerns framework that such suggestions will have greater impact than suggestions to dream about concern-unrelated topics. Additionally, current-concerns theory predicts that people will dream spontaneously in the absence of any presleep suggestion primarily about current-concern-related topics rather than concern-unrelated topics. In the absence of concern-related
4 CONCERNS, SUGGESTIONS, AND DREAMS 245 stimuli during sleep, the probability of dreaming about any one concern at a given moment will be low (Hoelscher et al., 1981), but most dream images should contain material associated with one or another of the dreamer's many current concerns. The focus of dreaming on concern-related topics occurs, according to current-concerns theory and presumably Antrobus's (1991) distributed-activation theory, because current concerns continuously potentiate responses to goal-related stimuli, including to the goal-related internal cues contained in one's ongoing mentation. In this view, then, dreaming consists of concern-related imaginal responses to goal-associated cues. This view is supported by results (Saredi et al., 1995) indicating that 98% of 8 participants' dream reports contained material identifiable with at least one of their individual current concerns, as assessed with the Motivational Structure Questionnaire (MSQ; Cox & Klinger, 1988; Klinger, 1987). Two investigations, using rather different methods, failed to confirm this finding (Rados & Cartwright, 1982; Roussy et al., 1995). Rados and Cartwright were unable to find a significant association between participants' REM dream content and their postsleep reports of current concerns, although they found a significant association of dream content with that of presleep thought samples. Roussy et al. found dreams were not associated at a significant level with either presleep thought samples or presleep descriptions of significant concerns, but the trends were well in the predicted direction and their design contained a number of features that would be expected to reduce the power of the tests. A weak association between immediate presleep thought content and dream content is, furthermore, not surprising. Typical college-student participants list approximately 30 current concerns on present MSQ answer sheets and have averaged approximately 50 concerns on more probing previous versions. One feature of waking thought is that it cycles through an individual's numerous concerns, and there is some evidence that having dealt with a topic at one time inhibits for a while its further appearance in conscious thought (Klinger, 1973), except perhaps in the case of emotionally charged, ruminative instances. Similarly, it is not surprising that Rados and Cartwright (1982) found little relation between their dream and postsleep concern reports. Their participants produced ' 'three to five REM reports... and one report from Condition 3" (p. 434) in which participants, having just awakened, were "asked, while they were still in bed, to report what was going on in their lives'' (p. 434). It is unclear how many different concerns might have been reported in one report by a drowsy participant but, following the logic described earlier, the probability of a match between one or a few concerns and a small number of REM reports is low. Implications for Activation-Synthesis Theory Differential Effects of Presleep Stimuli The predictions derived from current-concerns theory are substantially at variance with those from activation-synthesis theory. The principal features of Hobson and McCarley's (1977; see also Hobson, 1988) activation-synthesis theory are that (a) dream images are directly generated by essentially random sporadic pontine discharges (the activation) that produce sudden sensations, the dream hallucinations, and (b) forebrain activity seeks to fit these images into as coherent a pattern or plot as possible (the synthesis). Activation-synthesis theory can presently accommodate findings in which previously primed topics or current-concern-related topics show up in dreams more often than they would by chance. On one hand, the theory could regard the process by which this happens as purely associative and passive, which would remain consistent with its view that the pontine bursts are entirely independent of prior psychological processes or content. On the other hand, it could regard the process as part of the active cognitive effort to make sense of the burst-induced visual imagery, an effort that depends on the individual's store of memories and long-term potentiations. However, the differential occurrence of suggested concern-related topics, in contrast to suggested concern-unrelated topics and unsuggested concern-related topics, would require that a specific volitional process influence dream content. We see nothing in activation-synthesis theory as presently formalized that would compel such a prediction. That a prior volitional process could codetermine the selection of dream content would in itself produce a problem for the theory. This problem arises from the insistence of the theory that the pontine bursts that produce initial dream images are independent of any preceding psychological process. One way out of this problem within activation-synthesis theory would be to argue that the influence was not on content selection but on content interpretation. Content interpretation (the synthesis) appears for Hobson and McCarly (1977; see also Hobson, 1988) to be constrained primarily by the burst-induced dream images and their immediate associations, but Seligman and Yellen (1987) admitted other factors, including current concerns. Nevertheless, the impact of a remote suggestion would seem an unlikely candidate for a dream influence within this theory, especially if one assumes that "limits on memory capacity both storage and retrieval may be severe during the dream state" (Seligman & Yellen, 1987, p. 16). These deductions from activation-synthesis theory are based on its present explicit statement. We have been unable to find a specification in statements of the original theory as to how the particular configurations of pontine bursts or the visual images they evoke come to be selected. They are described without further specification as arising from "a largely random or reflex process... with little or no primary ideational, volitional, or emotional content" (Hobson & McCarley, 1977, p. 1347). In the extended version (Seligman & Yellen, 1987), specifications are limited to otherwise unspecified "day residues," "remote residual," and concurrent sensory events. Nor have we found a specification in the original theory of the precise processes whereby (or of the constraints on) the cognitive synthesis of burst-induced visual images takes place. The implications have been that the images generated by pontine bursts are quasi-random and that the synthesis is constrained by the content of the burst-induced images and by associations to those images. Thus, "best fits to the relative inchoate and incomplete data provided by the primary stimuli are called up from memory... likened to a computer searching its addresses for key words" (Hobson & McCarley, 1977, p. 1347). The extended theory (Seligman & Yellen, 1987), which posits not only pontine-originated visual bursts but also emotional bursts,
5 246 NIKLES, BRECHT, KLINGER, AND BURSELL suggests that dreamers' syntheses are influenced by current concerns. This provides a degree of common ground with currentconcerns theory and distributed-activation theory. However, unlike current-concerns theory (e.g., Klinger, 1977, 1978, 1996), there is no specification of the mechanism for this influence of current cojicerns on syntheses or of the reason that a particular concern should influence a particular synthesis at a particular time. Thus, if these formulations original and extended of activation-synthesis theory are to accommodate selective effects of presleep suggestions, they will at least need to be modified significantly and specified more precisely. From its beginnings, the current-concerns view of dreaming (Klinger, 1971) has taken the position that the influences of current concerns on cognition primarily in potentiating responses to cues associated with the respective goal pursuits remain essentially unchanged around the clock but that the cognitive consequences are modulated by the physiological context, whether that be chemical alterations of consciousness, fatigue, psychosis, or sleep. Some of these biological factors determine the extent to which the phenomenal stream is dreamlike. Hence, they determine the onset of dreaming, but not the onset of particular dream content within a dream state. The onset of dreaming is, in this view, simply a changeover from one mode of mental flow to another, without much impact on what themes the mental content is about. The first statement of the theory (Klinger, 1971) gave extensive consideration to the response organization of daydream and dream imagery, integrating it with emerging findings in psycholinguistics, motor programs, and response integration. It did not then, however, dwell on the neuropsychological or neurochemical substrate and has not done so since. It is precisely in this neuroscientific domain, neglected by current-concerns theory, that the original activation-synthesis model and its more recently evolved extensions (e.g., the activation level, input source, and mode of processing [AIM] model, Hobson, 1992) have distinguished themselves. Accordingly, the two positions differ primarily in their views of what modulates what: whether a continuous cognitive flow that is primarily steered by emotional responses to concern-related stimuli, including internal ones, is modulated by neurophysiological processes (the current-concerns approach) or whether dream experience that is generated by neurophysiological events is modulated by cognitive history and possibly current concerns (the activation-synthesis approach). This is largely, though not entirely, a difference in emphasis arising from the respective theorists' different disciplines, interests, Zeitgeists, and views of what made their positions distinctive. The two positions can thus readily be regarded as complementary in many respects, describing factors that modulate each other reciprocally. In one important respect, however, there appears to be a difference of more than emphasis. The current-concerns approach views not just the forms of dream imagery but also changes in dream content as governed to a substantial extent by emotional and cognitive responses to concern-related stimuli, including the internal stimuli of the dream flow itself. This source of change in dream imagery is at the least not developed in detail in the activation-synthesis models, despite receiving periodic informal mention (e.g., Hobson, 1988, pp ; Seligman & Yellen, 1987, pp ). To incorporate it formally would require a significant modification of the theory. Thus, in the present investigation, current-concerns theory would predict that presleep suggestions to dream about particular topics will be more effective if the topics are related to participants' current concerns and will lead to more incorporation of the suggested concern-related topic than if it was not suggested. Activation-synthesis theory would predict no particular differential effect. Visual Vividness and Dream Discontinuities Another hypothesis derivable from the extended activationsynthesis position (Seligman & Yellen, 1987) is that dreams that manifest the greatest number of transformations changes of course, sudden changes in scenery and personnel, and so on should also on average be among the most vivid. This deduction rests on Deduction 1 from the four postulates of the theory: It follows from Postulates 2 and 4 that there should be two distinguishable systems of information in a dream. The first, generated by the bursts, should be vivid, detailed and discontinuous with the prior plot (i.e., surprising). The second, generated by the cognitive synthesis, should be less vivid, less detailed, but continuous with the prior plot. (Seligman & Yellen, 1987, p. 5) Presumably, mentation experienced as a new dream would originate with such bursts; in that light, all dreams might be expected to begin vividly. However, bizarre discontinuities within a dream sample (i.e., those that do not evolve organically out of the preceding dream events) should theoretically also generally reflect bursts of these kinds. It follows that dream segments that contain substantial dream transformations, in the sense of discontinuities, should also on average be more vivid. Although Seligman and Yellen (1987) reported data (based on morning-after dream reports) that confirm this hypothesis, there is also some inferentially nonconfirmatory evidence. If one may take self-rated bizarreness as a proxy for discontinuity (discontinuity is usually considered a part of bizarreness; e.g., Reinsel, Antrobus, & Wollman, 1992), then it is relevant that Rechtschaffen and Buchignani (1992) found no visual differences for dreams judged high versus low in bizarreness. Currentconcerns theory supports no prediction on this issue, but the data reported here permit a further test of the hypothesis. Hypotheses The specific hypotheses of this investigation were as follows: (a) dreams will reflect participants' own current concerns more than other participants' concerns (own-concern-unrelated material) on nights with no presleep suggestions, (b) dreams will reflect own current concerns more when the dream topics suggested before sleep are associated with those concerns than when no topics are suggested, (c) dreams will reflect concernunrelated topics more when these are suggested than when no topic is suggested (insofar as the suggestion instates a goal to dream about the topic and hence renders it concern related), (d) own-current-concern-related suggestions will influence dream content more than concern-unrelated suggestions, and (e) fol-
6 CONCERNS, SUGGESTIONS, AND DREAMS 247 lowing activation-synthesis theory, the presence of gross transformations (major discontinuities) in a dream segment and the number of transformations (abrupt changes in features) in a dream will be correlated with its vividness (a prediction on which current-concerns theory has no position). Participants Method To obtain participants maximally capable of following dream suggestions, a screening process identified participants who could be classified as highly hypnotizable. The instruments used were the Tellegen Atkinson Absorption Scale (TAS; Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974) and the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ; Marks, 1973). Both of these have been shown to be positively correlated with standard measures of hypnotic susceptibility (Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974; Sutcliffe, Perry, & Sheehan, 1970; Crawford, 1982) and with each other (Crawford, 1982). Furthermore, absorption has been positively linked with "ability to dream on a chosen topic" (Zamore & Barrett, 1989). For screening purposes, 121 participants (39 men, 80 women, 2 of indeterminate sex), recruited from introductory psychology classes at the University of Minnesota, Morris, for extra credit, were tested in small groups. Their mean age was 18.8 years, with a range of Nine were excluded from the analyses owing to incomplete questionnaires or suspected dishonesty. The 112 remaining participants yielded a mean Absorption score of 20.67, with a standard deviation of 6.37 and a range of 4-34, and a mean Vividness score of (with a SD of 9.18, and a range of 33-79). Consistent with previous research (Crawford, 1982), the two scales were significantly correlated at.41 (p <.001). The raw scores on the TAS and VVIQ were converted to z scores and then averaged, yielding a single composite z score for each participant. Of the 58 participants who expressed interest in participating in the sleep phase of the investigation, the 10 participants with the highest average z scores who did not also have major health problems or sleep disorders were invited to participate. Their mean age was 19.3 (range: 18-21), mean Absorption score was 27.6 (SD = 3.37), and mean Vividness score was 72.1 (SD = 2.51). Participants were offered $10 a night for completing each of the first three nights and $30 for completing Night 4. After all participants had completed all procedures, three debriefing meetings were scheduled to explain procedures and answer questions. Apparatus and Materials Participants slept in an electrically shielded, soundproof, Industrial Acoustics Corporation 1202A audiometric room with dim blue lighting, a one-way window, and a single bed placed against one wall. An intercom provided continual auditory monitoring of the participants. During REM periods, participants were also monitored visually through the window. A small fan was available for participant use. Physiological measures electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrooculogram (EOG), two channels each recorded on paper with a sixchannel Beckman Type R Dynograph (model S-26021; Beckman Instruments, Schiller Park, IL), served as the basis for identifying REM periods. Each channel was set at an initial sensitivity level of 100 //V/cm and adjusted throughout the night. Because the investigation focused entirely on REM sleep, and to minimize ambient interference, the high frequency filters were set at 15 Hz and low frequency filters at.53 Hz. EEG was measured with Grass silver-silver chloride cup electrodes attached to the skin with Mavidon collodion and filled with Mavidon electrode jelly LI. EOG measurements were taken with Gerionics miniature silver-silver chloride biopotential skin electrodes filled with Mavidon electrode jelly LI and attached with double-stick adhesive washers. Grass spring-loaded silver ear electrodes filled with Grass EC2 electrode cream were used on ear lobes as references. A standard ohmmeter was used to check the resistance of applied electrodes. Participants were awakened with a beeping alarm played through the intercom. Dream reports were recorded to audiocassette through a microphone in the sleep room. Instruments The TAS consists of 34 true-false items. The VVIQ consists of imagining four scenes, each rated on four 5-point scales (from 1 = no image at all to 5 = perfectly clear and as vivid as normal vision). Participants' current concerns were obtained through a modified short form of the MSQ (Cox & Klinger, 1988; Klinger, 1987). This MSQ has participants list generally significant concerns (interests, activities, problems, goals, etc.) in any of 13 life areas (e.g., family, marriage, friends, hobbies). Participants wrote a brief description of their concerns and rated them on nine different scales. The three scales most relevant to the selection of suggestion topics were Effort (6-point scale, with 1 = I do not intend to make the thing happen and 6 = I fully intend to if 1 possibly can), Role (a 3-point scale, with 1 = take part, and know what action to take regarding the concern and 3 = watch only, but an important other person is actively involved), and Emotional Arousal (9-point scale, with 1 = no detectable change in emotions when thinking about the concern and 9 = as emotionally aroused as I ever get). The mean number of current concerns per participant was Participant nonconcerns were identified by having participants rate a list of 10 concerns compiled from participants of past MSQ research. Those rated low on Effort (commitment), Role, and in some instances Emotional Arousal were accepted as nonconcerns. Having participants rate nonconcern stimuli along with current concern stimuli served to identify potential topics for control suggestions and to equalize sensitization to them through the MSQ. A background questionnaire given on the first night gathered information regarding participants' recent sleep habits and health. Several other questionnaires were designed to check for factors that may have influenced dream content, such as medications. Each night, participants completed a mood questionnaire (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule Expanded Form [PANAS-X]; Watson & Clark, 1991). Each morning, participants completed a questionnaire to assess their sleep experience and the completeness and accuracy of dream reports during the night. The final morning follow-up questionnaire asked participants about aspects of the entire study (e.g., importance of monetary compensation, satisfaction with experimental procedures, insight into experimental hypotheses, expectancy of suggestion effects) and recent life events (Life Experiences Survey; Sarason, Johnson, & Siegel, 1978). No data needed to be disqualified on the basis of these measures. Procedures After completing the screening phase, participants received letters informing them of their status for possible further participation, which depended on their TAS and VVIQ scores. The 10 selected participants spent four consecutive nights in the laboratory. The first night served as an adaptation to procedures and the environment. The second night provided baseline information on dreams not influenced by suggestions. The third and fourth nights were counterbalanced suggestion nights. Five participants received a current-concern-related suggestion on Night 3 and a concern-unrelated suggestion on Night 4 (Order 1), and the other 5 participants received suggestions in the opposite order (Order 2). Participants were assigned to the two order groups according to the rank order of the composite z scores from their TAS and VVIQ scores, odd-ranking participants being assigned Order 1 and even-ranking par-
7 248 NIKLES, BRECHT, KLINGER, AND BURSELL ticipants to Order 2, thus approximately equalizing the groups on those scores. On the first night, participants first completed the consent form, background questionnaire, revised MSQ, and nonconcern ratings and then prepared for sleep. Grass cup electrodes were placed at scalp sites C3 and C4 of the International System. For EOG measurements, one electrode was placed 1 cm out and 2 cm up from the outer canthus of the left eye, another 1 cm out and 2 cm down from the outer canthus of the right eye. Electrode resistances were checked in triangulated pairs, and individual electrodes displaying more than 5 kohms resistance were reapplied. During electrode application on Nights 1 and 2, participants completed thought-sampling training to acquaint them with the dream reporting procedure that would be used. Twice during the application procedure each night, an alarm was sounded, at which time electrode application was halted and participants described the thoughts and feelings they had experienced just before the alarm. With each such report, they were led through the dream-reporting procedure outlined in the dream report checklist (Appendix; adapted from one by A. Rechtschaffen, personal communication, 1972). Following electrode application, participants were led to the sleep room and connected to the polygraph terminal. Thereafter, all communication with the participant occurred through the intercom. EOG recording was checked by asking participants to look up, down, right, and left and to blink five times. The dream reporting instructions were then read by Experimenter 1 (David L. Brecht): "When the tone sounds, give a thorough and detailed narrative about what you were dreaming of as far back as you can remember and tell what the major topic or theme was." On Nights 3 and 4, Experimenter 1, who was unaware of the suggestion order, presented the following variation of the permissive presleep suggestion used by Barber et al. (1973): The final instructions for the experiment tonight are as follows. I want you to try very hard and, to the very best of your ability, consciously and unconsciously, to think about and to dream about [topic]. The entire experiment will depend on your willingness to exert all of your willpower, to control your thoughts, and to limit your thoughts to [topic]. Please try very hard all through the night, consciously and unconsciously, to think about and to dream about [topic]. Now please repeat the instructions back to me... good. Now you may go to sleep. I am depending on you to exert all your willpower throughout the night to think about and dream about [topic]. This suggestion contained a current-concern-related topic one night and a nonconcern-related topic on the other. The current concern was selected by Experimenter 2 (Charles D. Nikles) from each participant's revised MSQ if it had an Effort rating of 5 or 6 and a Role rating of 1 or 2. If more than one concern met these criteria, the one with the highest Emotional Arousal score was selected. The suggestion was generally a rephrasing and simplification of the description given by the participant, avoiding undue abstractions. For instance, a current concern such as "I get along well with my friends and want to maintain these relationships" might be condensed to "positive interactions with your friends." Experimenter 2 also selected a nonconcern with an Effort rating of 1 and a Role rating of 3 a different nonconcern for each participant to prevent Experimenter 1 from deducing the suggestion order. The first noticeable out-of-phase eye movement during appropriate EEG readings was taken as REM onset; duration of REM periods was measured from that point forward. Each night, participants were awakened 1 min into the first REM period and 2 to 5 min after the onset of each subsequent period. At the appropriate time, the recorder was started, participants were awakened by sounding the alarm through me intercom, and dream reports were taken by Experimenter 1. On completion of the reporting procedure, participants were allowed to go back to sleep, and monitoring resumed. Because the first night served as an adaptation night, participants were awakened only twice, to familiarize them with the procedure. On subsequent nights, however, participants were awakened for a dream report during every discernible REM period. Scoring of Incorporation Into Dreams Participants returned to score their transcribed dream reports for incorporation of the current concerns they had listed on the revised MSQ and the nonconcerns they had rated. Two scales were used. One scale contained relatively objective criteria (0-5, with 5 = the dream report makes direct reference to the concern by describing or mentioning the concern directly... the dream must have the same meaning as the concern and uses some of the same language as the concern... and 0 = no relationship at all). The other scale was based on more subjective judgments (0 5, with 5 = the dream and concern are as related as they can be and 0 = no relationship at all). Two other student judges, unaware of the entire experimental procedure and of the suggested topics, independently performed the same rating exercise. The mean per-participant incorporation ratings over Nights 2, 3, and 4 yielded a significant Pearson product-moment correlation between the two incorporation scales (r =.96, p <.01). Judge ratings, with the two judges' scores averaged, also yielded a significant correlation between the two scales (r =.98, p <.01). Consequently, for all subsequent analyses, the two rating scales were averaged. Participants' and averaged judges' incorporation ratings were significantly correlated (r =.65, p <.01). Scoring of Dream Transformations Raters received the following definition of dream transformations: a change that does not represent simply a natural evolution of the existing image but instead involves a qualitative structural change imposed on the image. This includes the appearance of new entities (people, objects, discrete qualities) in the image, the disappearance of old ones, new quasi-sensory experiences, new capabilities acquired by other than normal and natural means (such as the ability to fly unaided), and sharply changed attributes. It does not include such things as emotional changes, intensification or fading, normal movement of people or animals within an image, changes in vantage point within an image, or changes in the amount of detail experienced if the details do not change the character of the thing detailed. Two raters' ratings of the number of transformations in each of 46 dreams were correlated (r =.78, p <.001). Gross transformations were defined more narrowly as (a) replacement of a dream sequence by an entirely new dream sequence within a dream sample, (b) emergence of a second dream sequence concurrently with, or alternating with, the previous one, or (c) carryover of portions of one dream sequence (other than the participant him- or herself) into a substantially new dream. Raters judged simply the presence or absence of such a gross transformation in each dream sample. Additional dreams reported at the same awakening but that had occurred at clearly different times were excluded. Here reliability was lower between two raters; kappa was.49, X 2 (l, N = 46) = 25.07, p <.001. Disagreements between the two raters were resolved by a third rater before further analysis of these ratings. Design The experimental hypotheses were tested in a 2 x 3 X 2 design, with the first two variables within participants and the third between participants. These independent variables are 1. Concern: current concern (CC) versus nonconcern (NC) content
8 CONCERNS, SUGGESTIONS, AND DREAMS 249 of suggested dream topics. Analyses of suggestion effects examined incorporation of only the suggested concerns and nonconcems, whereas other analyses scored for all current concerns and nonconcems. 2. Night: baseline Night 2, current-concern-related suggestion night (3 or 4), and concern-unrelated suggestion night (3 or 4). All analyses involving this variable were computed with the Greenhouse-Geisser correction. 3. Order: Order 1 (concern night first) and Order 2 (nonconcern night first). All reported significance levels are two-tailed. The probability accepted for significance in all tests is.05. Results Participants were awakened an average of 3.7 times on Night 2 (SD = 1.25), 5.6 times on Night 3 (SD = 0.97), and 5.4 times on Night 4 (SD = 1.35). Participants were unable to recall dreams after one awakening on Night 2, five on Night 3, and six on Night 4. Effects of Unsuggested Current Concerns on Dream Content On baseline Night 2, the mean of judges' mean incorporation ratings for each participant was significantly greater for currentconcern themes (.12, SD =.07) than for nonconcern themes (.03, SD =.04), f(9) = 3.49, p <.01, even though none had been suggested as dream topics. For participants' incorporation ratings, the mean for current concerns (.16, SD =.16) was also greater than for nonconcems (.05, SD =.07), f(9) = 2.75, p <.05. Although all of these mean incorporation levels are low, as one would predict from the absence of targeted external cues (Hoelscher et al., 1981), these findings support the hypothesis that dreams are differentially influenced by dreamers' own current concerns even in the absence of suggestion. Primary Hypotheses: Effects of Suggesting Dream Topics, Moderated by Concern Relevance For Nights 3 and 4, on which participants received suggestions to dream about particular topics, the relationships among order, night, and concern versus nonconcern suggestion were analyzed in a 2 X 3 X 2 multivariate analysis of variance (MAN0V\). Tables 1 and 2 present the cell means for participants' ratings and judges' ratings, respectively. Concern showed a main effect in favor of current-concernrelated suggestions, as expected, for both participants' ratings, F(l, 8) = 6.11, p <.05, and judges' ratings, F(l, 8) = 14.70, p <.01. However, this main effect was moderated by an interaction with night for both participants, F(l, 8) = 5.65, p <.05, and judges, F( 1, 8) = 6.67, p <.05. The main effect of night was also significant for judges, F(2, 16) = 7.12, p <.05, but absent for participants. No main effect of order was expected or found, nor were Order X Concern or Order X Night X Concern interactions significant. The Order X Night interaction was significant for participants, F(2, 16) = 6.29, p <.05, but not for judges. The Concern x Night interaction was broken down with Tukey pairwise comparisons (Tables 3 and 4). The mean of participants' incorporation ratings for the suggested current-concern- Table 1 Dream-Incorporation Means and Standard Deviations as a Function of Concern Versus Nonconcern Content, Suggestion Type, and Order of Suggestions (Participant Ratings) Order 1 Order 2 Combined order Night M SD M SD M SD Incorporation of suggested current-concern topics CC suggestion NC suggestion Incorporation of suggested nonconcern topics NC suggestion CC suggestion Note. CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. Order 1 provided a current-concem-related suggestion on Night 3 and a concernunrelated suggestion on Night 4; Order 2, the opposite order. related topics on the nights they were suggested was significantly greater than all other mean incorporation ratings (p <.05) except the mean of the suggested current-concern-related topics on the night they were not suggested. The latter comparison approached significance (p <.10). No other comparisons were significant at the.05 level. For judges, the mean incorporation rating for suggested current-concern-related topics on the nights they were suggested was significantly greater than all other mean incorporation ratings. Again, no other comparisons were significant at the.05 level. The above interaction bears on three of the four experimental hypotheses. As predicted, the mean incorporation rating for suggested current-concern-related topics was significantly greater Table 2 Dream-Incorporation Means and Standard Deviations as a Function of Concern Versus Nonconcern Content, Suggestion Type, and Order of Suggestions (Judge Ratings) Combined Order 1 Order 2 order Night M SD M SD M SD Incorporation of suggested current-concern topics CC suggestion NC suggestion Incorporation of suggested nonconcern topics NC suggestion CC suggestion Note. CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. Order 1 provided a current-concern-related suggestion on Night 3 and a concernunrelated suggestion on Night 4; Order 2, the opposite order.
9 250 NIKLES, BRECHT, KLINGER, AND BURSELL Table 3 Mean Dream Incorporation (Participant Ratings): Pairwise Comparisons for the Concern X Night Interaction Night CC suggestion NC suggestion CC * 0.24 Suggested topic NC Note. CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. * Significantly different from all other means except for 0.24, p <.05. No other pairs of means were significantly different from each other. than (a) the mean incorporation rating for those same topics on the baseline night and (b) the mean incorporation rating for suggested concern-unrelated topics on the night they were suggested. However, contrary to expectations, the mean incorporation rating for suggested concern-unrelated topics was not significantly greater than the mean incorporation rating for those same topics on the baseline night. The Order X Night interaction for participants was also broken down with pairwise comparisons. The mean incorporation rating for suggested current-concern-related and concern-unrelated topics combined for those participants receiving Order 1 was significantly greater on the night the topics were suggested (.705) than on the baseline night (.000), p <.05. No other comparisons were significant. The Order X Night interaction was unexpected, but it is an interesting result. The mean incorporation rating for all suggested topics was greater on the nights they were suggested than on the baseline night, but it was significantly greater only for those participants who received Order 1 (current-concern-related suggestion first). The order in which participants received their suggestions apparently moderated the effectiveness of those suggestions (see Discussion). To explore the meaning of this finding further, we examined the possibility that participants' failure to dream about nonconcern-related topics on Night 3 discouraged them from trying to dream about concern topics on Night 4. Whereas the proportion of dream reports expressing an emotion was about the same under both conditions (70% on concern-suggestion nights, 68% on nonconcern-suggestion nights), expressions of frustration Table 4 Mean Dream Incorporation (Judges' Ratings): Pairwise Comparisons for the Concern X Night Interaction Night CC suggestion NC suggestion CC * 0.13 Suggested topic NC Note. CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. * Significantly different from all other means, p <.05. No other pairs of means were significantly different from each other. were more frequent on nonconcern-suggestion nights (17% of dream reports vs. 6%). The difference falls short of significance but remains suggestive. Most of these frustration experiences occurred when the nonconcern night was the second suggestion night rather than the first. An activation-synthesis theorist might wonder whether the suggested dream incorporations occurred during the synthesis process (making sense out of arbitrary, pontine-burst-induced imagery), which would be reconcilable with activation-synthesis theory, or as part of the central imagery of the dream, which would create theoretical difficulties. The distinction is often hard to make. For example, in a dream of conversing with an exboyfriend, could it not be that the pontine bursts delivered an image of an adult male, which the participant then construed as her ex-boyfriend, the suggested dream topic, as part of the synthesis? Ultimately, there is no way to be sure. Insisting on complete certainty would render this part of the theory untestable. Consequently, we undertook such ratings, categorizing incorporations as being into central dream imagery if the imaginal dream context generally supported the identification. For example, a dream in which the participant had joined his dormitory mates (the suggested dream topic) in a chemistry class, with images of appropriate conversations among them, was classified as a clear-cut instance of incorporation into central imagery. When judgments are divided into three classes definitely into imagery, definitely into synthesis, and uncertain two raters agreed in 79% of their judgments. All disagreements were between "definitely into imagery" and "uncertain." Of those dreams on Nights 3 and 4 judged to have incorporated suggested dream topics, 60% were judged to have incorporated them into the central imagery of the dream. Another 20% were probably imagery incorporations, but there was a substantial possibility that the suggestion-relevant features were interpreted as such during synthesis. For example, following a suggestion to dream about recovery from a breakup with a boyfriend, the participant reported dreaming about a date with a man whom she in reality does not know. The interpretation of the scene as a "date" may have been a postimagery interpretation, although the dreamer had no doubts about the centrality of dating in the dream. Another 15% of incorporations were definitely or probably into the synthesis phase. Others were too uncertain to call. This general pattern obtained somewhat more strongly when the suggested topics had been concern related (71% incorporated into imagery definitely, 12% probably) than when concern unrelated (67% incorporated into imagery probably, 33% into synthesis), but the number of concern unrelated incorporations was too small to establish a difference. (When one considers only those dreams on which both raters agreed, 90% were rated as incorporations and 10% as uncertain.) This pattern also obtained when concern-related features were incorporated without suggestions to do so. On baseline Night 2, 52% of the incorporations were judged to be definitely into central dream imagery, 7% definitely or probably into synthesis, and the rest too uncertain to characterize. In summary, overall the data support the prediction that dreams are influenced by dreamers' current concerns more than by other themes. They reflected current concerns more than nonconcern themes when neither was suggested as a dream topic, and when they were suggested as dream topics, partici-
10 CONCERNS, SUGGESTIONS, AND DREAMS 251 pants incorporated concern themes into dreams more often than they incorporated nonconceras. Suggesting concern-unrelated dream topics had no significant effect on dream content. Incorporations were predominantly into the central imagery of the dreams rather than into what might reasonably be regarded as a synthesis process. Suggested Versus Nonsuggested Current Concerns on the Night Because the current concerns selected as suggestion topics had especially high Effort and Emotional Arousal ratings on the MSQ as compared with other current concerns, it was possible that they might have appeared in dreams more often than other concerns even without suggestions. However, diere were no significant differences in incorporations on the baseline night between concerns that were later suggested and those that were not suggested. A related question focused on whether current-concern-related suggestions stimulated dreaming only about suggested topics or about other current-concern-related topics as well. To investigate this, a 2 X 3 X 2 MANOVA was performed on the order, night, and suggestion variables (whether a concern had been suggested) with incorporation of only current concerns as the dependent variable. (The present question did not pertain to nonconcerns, because the nonconcern-related suggestions did not significantly influence participants' dreams.) Cell means are shown in Tables 5 and 6 for participants' and judges' ratings, respectively. The main effect of order and the Order X Suggestion interaction were both nonsignificant (participants' and judges' ratings). There was a significant main effect of suggestion for both participants', F(l, 8) = 15.34, p <.01, and judges', F(l, 8) = 8.10, p <.05, ratings. However, this effect was moderated by an interaction with night for participants', F(2, 16) = 5.57, Table 5 Dream-Incorporation Means and Standard Deviations of Suggested and Nonsuggested Current Concerns by Order, Night, and Suggestion Conditions (Participants' Ratings) Order 1 Order 2 Combined order Night M SD M SD M SD Table 6 Dream-Incorporation Means and Standard Deviations of Suggested and Nonsuggested Current Concerns by Order, Night, and Suggestion Conditions (Judges' Ratings) Order 1 Order 2 Combined order Night M SD M SD M SD Incorporation of current concerns used as suggestion topics CC suggestion NC suggestion CC suggestion NC suggestion Incorporation of other current concerns Note. CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. Order 1 provided a current-concern-related suggestion on Night 3 and a concernunrelated suggestion on Night 4; Order 2, the opposite order. On baseline and NC suggestion nights, no own current concerns were suggested. p <.05, and judges', F(2, 16) = 7.49, p <.05, ratings. There was also a significant main effect of night for both participants, F(2,16) = 5.75, p <.05, and judges, F(2,16) = 7.02, p <.05, although this effect was moderated by the interactions already mentioned. For participants, a three-way interaction of Order X Suggestion X Night approached significance, F(2, 16) = 3.90, p =.054. Because this interaction was significant without the Greenhouse-Geisser correction (p =.042), it was analyzed instead of the Suggestion X Night interaction. Breaking down the Suggestion X Night interaction for judges' ratings (Table 7), the Tukey pairwise comparisons show that the mean incorporation rating for the suggested current-concernrelated topics on the night they were suggested was significantly greater than all other mean incorporation ratings (p <.05). No other comparisons were significant at the.05 level. These results indicate that the effect of the current-concern-related suggestion was restricted to the suggested current-concern topic. The incorporation ratings for the suggested topics were significantly higher than the ratings for the nonsuggested concerns on the suggestion night, and the incorporation ratings for the nonsuggested concerns on the suggestion night were not significantly greater than the same ratings on the baseline night. Incorporation of current concerns used as suggestion topics CC suggestion NC suggestion CC suggestion NC suggestion Incorporation of other current concerns Note. CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. Order 1 provided a current-concern-related suggestion on Night 3 and a concernunrelated suggestion on Night 4; Order 2, the opposite order. On baseline and NC suggestion nights, no own current concerns were suggested. Table 7 Mean Dream Incorporation (Judges' Ratings): Pairwise Comparisons for the Suggestion X Night Interaction Night Suggested CC Nonsuggested CC CC suggestion NC suggestion.17.82* Note. CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. * This mean was significantly different from all other means, p <.05. No other pairs of means were significantly different from each other.
11 252 NIKLES, BRECHT, KLINGER, AND BURSELL Similarly breaking down the Order X Suggestion X Night interaction for participants' ratings with TUkey pairwise comparisons (Table 8) shows that the mean suggestion-night incorporation rating for the concern-related topics suggested on Night 3 (Order 1 participants) was significantly greater than all other mean incorporation ratings except two: the mean incorporation of the current-concern-related topics that were suggested on Night 4 into the dreams on baseline Night 2 and suggestion Night 3, for Order 2 participants only. No other comparisons were significant. These results imply that, for participants as well as judges, the effect of the current-concern-related suggestion was restricted to the suggested current-concern topic. In addition, this interaction further attests to the importance of suggestion order in influencing dream content. In summary, these results indicate that the effects of suggestions were specific to the suggested current-concern topics. Suggestions did not affect dreaming about concern-unrelated topics or unsuggested concern-related topics. The effects are not attributable to the properties of the particular current concerns that were selected for suggestion as dream topics in comparison with unselected current concerns. MSQ Ratings and Current-Concern Incorporation To investigate whether particular properties of individual concerns are associated with their likelihood of incorporation, ratings of unsuggested individual current concerns on several scales of the MSQ were subjected to intraparticipant correlations with the mean participant and judge incorporation ratings of those concerns on Nights 3 and 4. MSQ variables included in the correlations were role, effort, happiness, and sadness (how happy or sad the participant would be if the goal were achieved or not achieved), subjective probability of success in achieving the goal, and emotional arousal. No consistent pattern of findings emerged. Table 8 Mean Dream Incorporation (Participants' Ratings): Pairwise Comparisons for the Order X Suggestion X Night Interaction Night CC suggestion (N3) NC suggestion (N4) CC suggestion (N4) NC suggestion (N3) Suggested CC Order * 0.17 Order Nonsuggested CC Note, CC = current-concern topic; NC = nonconcern topic. Order 1 provided a current-concern-related suggestion on Night 3 (N3) and a concern-unrelated suggestion on Night 4 (N4); Order 2, the opposite order. * This mean was significantly different from all other means except for 0.43 and 0.43, p <.05. No other pairs of means were significantly different from each other. Correlation Between Dream Vividness and Transformations Participants had rated the vividness of their dreams on a 4- point scale at each awakening. Using an adapted Guided Affective Imagery Rating Instrument (Bott & Klinger, 1986), a different rater rated the number of transformations in each dream and the presence or absence of gross transformations. A second rater subsequently rerated the number of transformations in 46 dreams, with an interrater reliability of.78, p <.001. A third rater rerated the presence of gross transformations in all dream samples, yielding a kappa of.49, x 2 (l, N = 135) = 25.07, p <.001. Disagreements among the raters were resolved by a fourth rater. The relation between vividness and the transformation measures was quantified by intraparticipant correlations. These were tested for significance by one-sample t tests of the mean Fisherz-transformed within-participant coefficients. Because all of the dreams of 3 participants were judged to have included no transformations or to have been of uniform vividness, correlations could not be calculated for them. Neither set of correlations vividness versus number of transformations or vividness versus presence of gross transformations was statistically significant or substantial. The mean unadjusted correlation was.16 for the 7 participants (entailing a total of 99 usable data points) who had nonzero variances in both variables. This figure is, of course, nonsignificant, contrary to the prediction derived from the extended version of activationsynthesis theory (Seligman & Yellen, 1987). Aggregating the 135 dreams from all 10 participants (with about an equal number of dreams per participant) yielded a correlation of.14, also nonsignificant. Perusal of the transcripts suggested a correlation between transformation ratings and transcript length. The length of the dream narratives (not including responses to specific questions by the experimenter) was in fact correlated with both number of transformations (mean intraparticipant r =.45), f(6) = 3.56, p =.01, and presence of gross transformations (mean intraparticipant r =.49), t(6) = 3.53, p =.01, but not with vividness (mean intraparticipant r =.16), t(6) = 1.22, ns. Partialing transcript length out of the previous correlations resulted in partial correlations of vividness with number of transformations (mean intraparticipant pr =.11), f(6) = 0.84, ns, and with presence of gross transformations (mean intraparticipant pr = -.01), f(6) = 0.06, ns. Thus, including the factor of narrative length made little practical difference in the results. Discussion The present study confirmed and extended previous research into the effects of current concerns on cognitive processes. First, whereas Hoelscher et al. (1981) established that participants continue selectively to process current-concern-related cues while sleeping, the present findings indicate that participants naturally dream more about their own current concerns than about nonconcern topics. Second, presleep suggestions to dream about topics related to participants' current concerns influenced dream content more than suggestions to dream about concernunrelated topics, which did not differ from a nonsuggestion
12 CONCERNS, SUGGESTIONS, AND DREAMS 253 baseline. It seems reasonable to conclude, then, that concernrelated content is an important factor in the effectiveness of such presleep suggestions. Furthermore, spontaneously incorporated concern-related material and suggested dream topics appear to be incorporated predominantly into the central imagery of their respective dreams. These results indicate that volitional processes can influence central dream imagery. The findings indicate that the effectiveness of Barber et al.'s (1973) suggestions may be attributed to the fact that the dream topic, the assassination of President Kennedy, was an emotionally loaded event fresh in participants' memories. This event may have constituted a current concern for many participants, to the extent that they were dealing with unresolved grief. It almost certainly shared one or more characteristics with the current-concern-related topics selected for suggestions in the present study (e.g., high emotional arousal value, which probably mediates the effects of current concerns; Bock & Klinger, 1986; Klinger, 1996). Contrary to hypothesis, the concern-unrelated suggestions did not influence dream content significantly. This result is consistent with the idea that the concern-related content of a cue is an important factor in the effectiveness of a suggestion; indeed, we had predicted that nonconcern topics would be incorporated less than concern topics. However, we had also predicted that the request to dream about a topic would itself create a goal and hence a current concern that would exert some degree of influence on dream content. There are at least three possible explanations for this finding. First, Stoyva (1965) obtained significant results using hypnotic suggestions of dream topics that were probably nonconcerns for most participants (e.g., "climbing a tree''). Possibly, hypnosis moderates the effectiveness of concern-unrelated suggestions. Second, the volitional impact of a suggestion on dreams may arise, as with any other concern, chiefly through sensitizing participants to the cues of the concern. During sleep, those cues would largely be restricted to the participants' prior stream of mentation. Conceivably, the participant's mentation contained too few cues associated with nonconcern suggestions to have much impact on dreams. Finally, the cues may exist, but the emotional response to them may be too weak. The finding that the effects of current-concern-related suggestions on participant-rated incorporation was moderated by order was unexpected. It might appear that these participants were less motivated to comply with the suggestion on Night 4 because of discouragement after the unsuccessful nonconcern suggestion the night before. The higher frequency of frustration expressed on nights when nonconcern topics were suggested, although falling short of significance, is consistent with this interpretation. However, most of these frustration experiences occurred when nonconcerns were suggested on the second suggestion night rather than the first. This is more consistent with frustration at not being able to repeat the success of the previous night. Nevertheless, frustration aside, it is still possible that the failure to incorporate concern-unrelated topics on a first suggestion night weakened the impact of suggestions the following night. The Order x Night interaction cannot be explained by a rating artifact of participants' consistently rating current-concern and nonconcern incorporation higher on Night 3 than on Night 4. After all, the mean incorporation ratings for concern-unrelated topics on the nights they were suggested were lower on Night 3 (Order 2;.00) than on Night 4 (Order 1;.14) as well as on nights when other, concern-related topics were suggested (.14 vs..24). Finally, the mean incorporation ratings for participants' current concerns that were never suggested as dream topics were lower on concern-suggestion Night 3 (Order 1;.10) than on concern-suggestion Night 4 (Order 2;.17). Thus the Order X Night interaction is probably best understood as a result of decreased motivation to follow suggestions. The demonstration that volitional factors can exert differential effects on dream content appears inconsistent with current formulations of activation-synthesis theory. At the very least, we are unable to find language in the descriptions of this theory and its extensions that would accommodate such findings. This indicates a need to modify the theory to include volitional processes, including current concerns, among the determinants of dream content. Finally, finding the number of transformations within each dream to be uncorrelated with its vividness disconfirms a prediction derived from the extended activation-synthesis theory (Seligman & Yellen, 1987), which holds that pontine bursts both provide the vivid quasi-sensory content of dreams and disrupt whatever mental content was present at the time. The fact that the seven intraparticipant correlations reflected in aggregate 99 rateable dreams makes it implausible to attribute the result to insufficient statistical power, which was enough to confirm other hypotheses in this study. If a correlation between discontinuities and vividness indeed exists, it is probably too slight to be of much theoretical interest. Longer dream narrations contained more significant transformations. Possibly, transformed dreams give participants more to narrate, but longer narrations may simply provide more opportunities for transformations to emerge. The latter conclusion seems the more consistent with the finding that dreams narrated at length are at best only slightly (and nonsignificantly) more vivid than are more briefly described dreams. This evidence does not invalidate the view that pontine or other discharges contribute to the characteristic qualities of dream life. That theory may well account for the subjectively greater degree of chaos and potential for surprise of dreams as compared with waking imagery (Williams, Merritt, Rittenhouse, & Hobson, 1992), but the results described here suggest that these effects are superimposed on a psychologically meaningful and more or less continuous, if wandering, dream structure (Stickgold, Rittenhouse, & Hobson, 1994). 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