Listening to friends tell you about their dreams helps develop empathy

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Most ideas about the function of dreams involve memory consolidation or managing emotions, but dreams may also serve to increase our sense of togetherness when they are shared with others



Mind



8 April 2022

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Dreams may help us bond with others

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Sharing dreams may serve a purpose. A study finds that describing the content of our dreams or nightmares – whether boring or truly bizarre – may function to bond people and groups together, and that listening and responding to the strange content of dreams can increase empathy. It even proposes that dream-sharing helped the process of human self-domestication, where people evolved greater self-control, less aggressive tendencies and a keener sense of empathy for others.

“The empathy/human self-domestication theory proposes that once dreams started to be told, …

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