New Study Finds Creative People Are More Likely To Murder Others In Their Dreams

If you're disturbed by the content of your dreams, don't worry. Violent nightmares appear quite common. Sergey Mironov/Shutterstock

Aliyah Kovner 26 Jun 2018, 23:37

“Most of the aggressive acts in these dreams were intentional, and killing a person was the most prominent offender’s act,” they wrote. Before you write off all humans (or just Düsseldorf residents) as repressed psychopaths, however, take note that most of the dream scenarios were motivated by self-defense.

Analysis of the personality surveys revealed that people with regular offender-nightmares were more likely to have a history of real-world violence and show traits of neuroticism and aggression than those who didn’t experience offender-nightmares or persons without nightmares in general. While this association is rather intuitive, Mathes and his colleagues were fascinated when they discovered that offender-nightmares are also more common in people who had more creative achievements.

Though they concede that more research is needed to confirm these links between personality and violent dreams, the findings make sense in the framework established by past studies. During dreams, the mind ruminates on issues and emotions that we try to suppress (and consequently dwell on more) throughout the day. Thus, individuals who are more tightly wound due to underlying neuroticism, past trauma, or struggles with criticism and rejection from a creative career field may simply have more inner demons that they battle in their sleep – literally.  

"Nightmare dreamers who are also more creative may also be more creative in reacting to the aggressor actively," Mathes told IFLScience. "Instead of running away, they fight back, or probably they are offending because they want to save or protect another dream character."

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