Our favorite nightmares



Scientists are exploring nightmares for a century, and came to a rather strange conclusion - namely, almost all people are afraid of the same.

< Unknown facts about the nightmares
First let's find out what is meant by the word "nightmare". A nightmare, as defined by researchers sleep is disturbing, emotionally intense dream that ends with the awakening of the sleeping. Nightmare occurs naturally, in other words frightening visions that occur after ingestion of drugs, technically can not be regarded as a nightmare, but rather as a "bad dream».

It is believed that only 5% of adults suffer from nightmares regularly (among teenagers, the figure is 70-90%), which makes this phenomenon is quite common.

Oddly enough, but we know very little about what people really dream about when they see a nightmare. The problem lies more in the fact that each is unique nightmare. To describe this, we use anecdotes, rumors or questionable interpretation, taken from the Internet. This creates difficulties for scientists.

Our vague notions about the nightmares

The study psychologist Antonio Zadra, published in the journal "Sleep" is a list of reasons describing why it is still not formed an integrated approach to the description of nightmares.

After examining the results of 12 studies conducted since 1935, Zadar came to the conclusion that they "differ depending on the test and instrumentation that was used for the experiments».

To learn nightmares Zadar resorted to using questionnaires and interviews. The so-called "gold standard" for the study of nightmares Zadar called daily maintenance of the subjects of the magazine.

Inaccuracies in the description of what he saw in a dream arose from the fact that the subject could not long keep in memory what he had dreamed. When the subject was asked to recall recently gone through a nightmare, he often recalled the most emotional, unusual and striking moment of sleep.

Most people remember how they fell, or behind them someone was chasing that may be due to the most intense emotional experience in a dream.

Zadar argues that the very definition of a nightmare rather controversial, because "Unknown criterion awakening." Scientists still can not determine what is the trigger to wake up after a nightmare. Recently, researchers have recognized the existence of a huge range of emotions in the dream, including fear, anger, guilt, disgust, sadness and disappointment. Zadra believes that 35% of nightmares and bad dreams 55% contains the primary emotion than fear.

Yet scientists have been able to classify the most frequent nightmares that people dream.

The most common nightmares

"Nightmares" Cason

First serious work on the subject was held nightmares psychologist HalsiKeysonom in 1930. He interviewed 258 people: adults, children, mentally retarded, blind, mentally ill. Cason has identified the most frequent nightmares:


Animals of (27%)

2.Pogonya (27%)

3.Smert / murder (26%)

4.Koshmary related to home / family (21%)

5.Padenie (21%)

6.Raznoe (19%)

7.Neschastnye cases (17%)

The disadvantage of this classification is dependent on the method of asking. Perhaps this topic dreams we seem somewhat blurred. On the other hand dreams themselves are rather vague, is not it?

"Characteristics of nightmares and their content" DidraBarret

A study conducted in 1988, led by Harvard psychologist Deidre Barrett revealed the following topics nightmares among 78 respondents:


1.Pogonya (72%)

2.Smert a loved one or friend (64%)

3.Padenie (53%)

4.Sobstvennaya death (39%)

5.Zhivotnye / monsters (33%)

6.Voyna / violent crime / natural disasters (24%)

Barrett, as Cason, does not establish a sign of awakening, but instead it applies the conversation questioning.

Lawrence and Celluci "Effectiveness of systematic desensitization to reduce nightmares»

In another study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro psychologists Scott Lawrence and Anthony Celluci in 1978 with 29 subjects suffering from nightmares, finds its application to secure the sleep diary. Here is what was reflected in the diaries frequently:


1.Ugroza physical violence (16%)

2.Travma or death of another person (15%)

3.Mezhlichnostny conflict (15%)

According to experts, "psychological activity during sleep and wakefulness is a reflection of lifestyle, past experiences, interests, activities, hopes and plans for the future test»

"The frequency of nightmares and themes of the German sample." Michael Shredl

One of the largest and most comprehensive studies is the work of Michael Shredla, published in 2010 at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. The study involved more than 1,000 people over 16 years old who had experienced at least one more nightmare in the year. It was revealed the 5 private nightmares:


1.Padenie (40%)

2.Pogonya (26%)

3.Paralich (25%)

4.Opozdanie an important meeting (24%)

5.Smert or disappearance of a loved one (21%)

"Theme and content analysis wanton nightmares and bad dreams»

As pointed out Zadra, the purpose of his research was "comprehensive and comparative description of nightmares among students and other segments of the population." Therefore, it is actively implement methods of fixing all bad dreams, and, ultimately, in his collection includes about 10,000 nightmares, among which he singled out five major nightmares, systematic system Hall and Van de Castle:

1.Physical aggression (48, 6%)

2.Mezhlichnostnye conflicts (21%)

3.Neudacha or helplessness (16, 2%)

4.Problemy health or death (9, 1%)

5.Mrachnye apprehension / anxiety (8, 7%)

The most frequent nightmare

As we can see, among all classifications nightmares no one universal. You might also notice that one particular nightmare may occur in different studies, but in a different percentage.

Whatever it was, but the lack of "most common" themes nightmare due to the nature of the obscure and nightmare and complexity of the studies.

As pointed out by M. Shredl, the results depend entirely on the methodology and sampling, whether in the experiment method of questioning, analysis, and which segments of the population take part in the survey. "All the results are valid, so the main task of science - to find a way to combine into one all received data».

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