Mutual dreaming

Patrick McNamara, Luke Dietrich-Egensteiner, Brian Teed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We seek to open a discussion on the phenomenon of shared or mutual dreams. We provide a descriptive content analysis of a nonrandom sample of reports of mutual dreaming. Bracketing claims that mutual dreams are veridical, we assess the hypothesis that mutual dreams are associated with attempts to enhance emotional attachment relationships. Content analyses of 102 mutual dream narratives are studied. Mutual dream reporters were 24% male, 37% female, and 38% unspecified. Mutual dreamers (person reported to have shared the dream with the primary reporter) were 36% male, 57% female, and 7% unspecified. Ninety-two percent of mutual dreams were between 2 people. Twenty-seven percent of these were between friends, 42% relatives, 27% significant others, and 4% nonfamiliar people. Dreamers did not typically speak together during the dream and 48% had the dream while in different locations. Mean similarity ratings for dream settings, themes, characters, events, and objects were all above 4.0 where 5.0 indicated identical content. Mean intimacy ratings between the 2 dreamers was 3.16 where 6 indicated the highest intimacy. The most frequent themes concerned family and friendship relationships. Mutual dreams tend to occur in close dyadic relationships, be very similar in content, and occur when related dreamers are separated and not feeling very intimate. "Noticing" or constructing mutual dreams may therefore be related to a need for emotional closeness or attachment in relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Lucid dreams
  • Mutual dreaming
  • REM sleep
  • Shared dreams
  • Twin dreams


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