You Are What You Dream: The Dark Tetrad and Dream Content

Tom Jenkins, Margaret Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has found behaviors associated with personality traits can be found in the dreams of those who possess them, suggesting a continuum between dreaming and waking life. The present study sought to investigate the association between Dark Tetrad traits (psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and sadism) and dream content. 137 participants completed questionnaires measuring Dark Tetrad traits and fighting, sexual, and grandiosity themes of dream content. Correlation analyses revealed significant positive relationships between all Dark Tetrad traits and fighting, sexual and grandiosity dreams. Regression analyses revealed that psychopathy and gender predicted fighting dreams, and sadism uniquely predicted sexual and grandiosity dreams. The results suggest that waking life Dark Tetrad personality traits are reflected in dream content. The Continuity Hypothesis, which posits a continuity between waking life and dreaming, may in part explain the results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-445
Issue number4
Early online date3 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


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