What Dreams Say About Personality

Can you determine someone's personality type by looking at their dreams? Here's what dream expert Veronica Tonay has to say in her book, Every Dream Interpreted(Chrysalis Books plc, 2003):

A few studies have tried to link waking personality with people's dreams, but the results were not as extensive as you might think, considering that so much of ourselves appears in our dreams. What we do know:


  • Type A personalities (driven people who experience almost constant inner pressure) have more disturbing dreams than type B personalities (calmer, relaxed individuals).
  • People who report dreams in the "twilight" portion of sleep (as they are falling asleep) tend to be less anxious, more poised, self-accepting and less conforming than people who don't remember such dreams. Those who don't recall "twilight" dreams tend to be more authoritarian in waking life and also behave in a typically authoritarian way in their dreams: they conform to the group and condemn those who don't.
  • Sensitizers, people who are aware of their anxiety and tend to feel it more strongly, tend to dream more often of future events and of the past than do people who repress their feelings when awake.
  • Creative people place their dreams in unusual, varied settings (compared to the more frequent home dreams of less creative people); dream of creative pursuits; have dreams of loss, children and trying to overcome obstacles in nature. The frequency of their sexual dreams varies depending on whether or not they are actually doing something creative in their waking lives.
  • Intuitive people (who tend to be creative) remember more "big" numinous, archetypal dreams than do people who prefer to take in information through their five senses.
  • Introverts (people who focus on the inner world of ideas and feelings) recall more "little" everyday dreams than do extroverts. However, extroverts and introverts tend to recall archetypal dreams just as often.
  • Thinking types, who make decisions based on logical analysis, tend to have more emotional dreams/tend to experience more emotions in their dreams than do feeling types, who make decisions based on principles and values.

Numinous vs. Personal Unconscious Dreams

Numinous — or archetypal "big" dreams — are vivid and memorable. They may be mythological (simlar in structure and theme to a folk tale or story) and contain archetypes.

Personal Unconscious — or "little" dreams — are less vivid and memorable. They reflect everyday concerns and contain real-life scenarios and characters.