Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Playing Soccer or Hockey in my Dreams

After reading and discussing thousands of dreams from research and program participants one thing that stands out consistently is that fact that dreams are culturally relevant. When examining the dreams of Canadian men they often find themselves playing out their waking day issues as a hockey player in a hockey game. Interestingly, the same issues get played out with the dreamer as a soccer player in the dreams of Italian males. The scenes and settings completely follow the continuity hypothesis for the dreamers and their particular culture.

Similarly, the dreams of Canadians have the theme of "Tim Horton's" (a popular cofee house chain) while Italians have themes of towers, the sea and food such as pasta.

In a recent study conducted in Canada and the United Arab Emirates it was found that the UAR dreams had significantly more images of religious and spiritual imagery than did the Canadians (Salem et al., 2010). This is particularly important given the differences placed on religious practices between the two countries.

Perhaps one of the most interesting and salient themes in dreams is this cultural element. A better understanding of the role of culture in dreams can perhaps help predict cultural themes for specific groups and possibly help dreamers understand how culture plays into their own waking day decisions.