Dreams and Personality Influence Creativity




Price, Michael

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



There is currently little research on how dreaming behaviors and personality may affect creativity. This thesis investigated how dream recall frequency (DRF), which is how often people can recall their dreams, and the Big 5 personality traits (i.e., neuroticism, conscientiousness, openness, extraversion, and agreeableness), affect divergent thinking and creative problem solving. Participants (N = 76) completed questionnaires about dreaming, sleep quality, and the Big 5 personality traits and completed five tasks. Two tasks measured form of creativity known as divergent thinking, which refers to the flexible creation of multiple ideas and solutions. In the alternative uses task, participants were asked to come up with as many creative uses for six everyday objects (e.g., shoes) as possible within one minute. In the Cartoon Caption Task, participants were asked to look at five cartoon pictures and produce the most creative caption they could think of for each cartoon in one minute. Creative problem solving was also measured with two tasks. In the matchstick task, participants were given five minutes to complete each of four problems in which individuals looked at an incorrect math equation written in roman numerals with matchsticks, and they were asked to move one of the matchsticks to a different place in the equation to make the equation correct. In the Compound Remote Associates Test, participants were asked to look at three different words and figure out which fourth word could make a compound word with each of the three words that they were given. Two multiple regressions were conducted to determine if any personality traits or DRF predicted performance on divergent thinking or creative problem solving. Although the full model assessing predictors of divergent thinking was not significant, the results indicated that both DRF and openness positively predicted divergent-thinking performance. Neither DRF nor any personality traits predicted creative problem solving. These results support current theories that suggest that dreaming that occurs during REM sleep promotes the discovery and exploration of novel connections in the mind that stimulate divergent thinking during waking. Furthermore, these results may have practical applications for improving divergent thinking in everyday life.



dreams, personality, creativity


Price, M. A. (2023). Dreams and personality influence creativity (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI