Lucid Dreaming: Induction, Individual Differences, and Benefits (Part 3)
After using repeated measures within-groups statistical tests, it was found that there were slight increases in dream recall frequency in week one. After week two significant increases in dream recall frequency were shown, along with some participants reporting having one or more lucid dreams within the short two week time span of the study. Overall, the study proved to be a success, but due to the lack of participants, more research on the methods
used would of course be needed. The methods described as compared to the many others, have proven to be the most effective, and have had the most significant research which correlates to lucidity success. Yet with this variety of methods, some still cannot lucid dream, some learn to after months of time, some almost immediately, and some seem to have the innate ability to become lucid at will while dreaming. With this variety of individual dreaming, then what individual differences contribute to the varying degrees of lucidity?
Individual Differences in Lucid Dreaming
In looking at the individual differences in lucid dreams, there have been very few studies that have looked at specific personality differences that may contribute to more or less lucid dreaming. Patrick and Durdell (2004) conducted a study that showed the differences in non-lucid dreams, frequent lucid dreamers, and occasional lucid dreams. They first give some background on the topic, mentioning that it was Freud who introduced the continuity hypothesis, which states that dreams reflect waking occurrences in daily life. This would mean that daily experiences are reflected in dreaming. They also mention that conflicts in daily life may have an impact on frequency of bad dreams, or nightmares. These factors are important to consider because they may all have an effect on the ability to lucid dream. Such as one who has consistent conflicts throughout the day may have trouble
sleeping with nightmares and such therefore impairing their ability to easily recognize dream signs in their dreams.
Internal locus of control was another notable characteristic that frequent lucid dreamers have (Lefcourt, 1982). An external locus of control is a characteristic in which one consistently believes their life is controlled by fate, or destiny. It seems obvious that this would lead toward less control in dreams, as the dreamer would feel they are unable to control their dreams, and indeed it is true. Internal locus of control, a personality characteristic which is essentially the opposite of the external locus of control, involves the
person consistently believing they have complete control over their lives and every decision they make and events that happen are not fate, but a combination of expected scenarios.
Blagrove and Tucker (1994) noted that individuals with a strong internal locus of control do have much more frequent lucid dreams than those with an external locus of control. Those who had an internal locus of control had a strong belief of control, that belief is reflected in their dreaming, in that they believe they have the power and control to change and modify their environment. While those with the external locus of control felt as though they had no power to control what happens in their
dreams, when control the most essential facet of lucid dreaming. They also mention that frequent dream recall is essential for dreaming, whether or not it is from using a dream journal, those with an internal locus of control were shown to have stronger dream recall.
In Patrick and Durrdell’s (2004) study they had 50 participants who were split into three grouped categories above. The three groups of dreamers were analyzed on their locus of control, need for cognition, and field independence-dependence. They were analyzed using a written test which contained a variety of questions concerning dreaming in general, lucid dreaming, and personality characteristics.
Their results indicated, just as mentioned above, that those with an internal locus of control showed strong statistical significance in having most lucid type dreams. Need for cognition was defined as paying attention to environment, and paying close attention to things, such as listening to what a speaker giving a speech is saying rather than how good they look. A low need for cognition was defined as not being as aware of things as one should, such as listening to a speaker while only thinking about the speakers looks or their attire rather than actually listening to what they have to say. It was found that those with a higher need for cognition reported more dream activity and lucidity as opposed to those with a low need for cognition. In comparing field independence, which was described as being independent towards ones environment, and field dependence, which was described
as characteristic in which one feels they have no control over their environment and the events that occur, field independence was found to be a prominent feature in the frequent lucid dreamers.
Overall, the study shows and supports the fact that those who are more confident, independent, aware, and feel in control of themselves and their surroundings reflect those characteristics in their dreams showing more lucidity and dream recall. Individual differences clearly have an effect on the ability to lucid dream, as the various personality traits that people have, along with the vastly different lives people have which may or may not involve frequent conflicts throughout the day or no conflicts, can all have an effect on lucid dreaming (Patrick Durrdell, 2004).
Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
The potential benefits of lucid dreaming are vast, but the most recent and reliable research has mainly focused on the reduction of nightmares for those who experience them frequently.