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From the 1940s to 1985, Calvin S. Hall collected more than 50,000 dream reports at Western Reserve University. In 1966 Hall and Van De Castle published The Content Analysis of Dreams in which they outlined a coding system to study 1,000 dream reports from college students. It was found that people all over the world dream of mostly the same things. Hall's complete dream reports became publicly available in the mid-1990s by Hall's protégé William Domhoff, allowing further different analysis.
Personal experiences from the last day or week are frequently incorporated into dreams.
The Hall data analysis shows that sexual dreams occur no more than 10 percent of the time and are more prevalent in young to mid teens. Another study showed that 8% of mens' and womens' dreams have sexual content. In some cases, sexual dreams may result in orgasm or nocturnal emission. These are commonly known as wet dreams.
Women's dreams do not result in emission, only those of men do, however women have more sexual dreams than men.
While the content of most dreams is dreamt only once, many people experience recurring dreams—that is, the same dream narrative is experienced over different occasions of sleep. Up to 70% of females and 65% of males report recurrent dreams.
Content-analysis studies have identified common reported themes in dreams. These include: situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly in place, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, a person who is dead being alive, teeth falling out, flying, future events such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. (with different scenarios), embarrassing moments, falling in love with random people, failing an examination, not being able to move, not being able to focus vision, car accidents, being accused of a crime you didn't commit, suddenly finding yourself naked, going to the toilet, and many more.
Color vs. black and white
Twelve percent of people dream only in black and white. Studies from 1915 through to the 1950s maintained that the majority of dreams were in black and white, but these results began to change in the 1960s. Today, only 4.4% of the dreams of under-25 year-olds are in black and white [How to reference and link to summary or text]. Recent research has suggested that those changing results may be linked to the switch from black-and-white film and TV to color media.
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- Hall, C., & Van de Castle, R. (1966). The Content Analysis of Dreams. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. Content Analysis Explained
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- Zadra, A., "1093: SEX DREAMS: WHAT DO MEN AND WOMEN DREAM ABOUT?" SLEEP, Volume 30, Abstract Supplement, 2007 A376.
- http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/FR157/04Chapter04.pdf Badan Pusat Statistik "Indonesia Young Adult Reproductive Health Survey 2002-2004" p. 27
- Michael Schredl, Petra Ciric, Simon Götz, Lutz Wittmann (November 2004). Typical Dreams: Stability and Gender Differences. The Journal of Psychology 138 (6): 485 (Abstract).
- Richard Alleyne (October 17, 2008). Black and white TV generation have monochrome dreams. Telegraph: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2008/10/17/scidream117.xml Article]).