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The Science of Sleep: Testing Dream Recall

based on 36 ratings
Author: Megan Doyle

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science

Objective:

In this experiment, students will look at whether age and/or gender play a role in people's ability to remember dreams.

Research Questions:

  • Does age affect ability to remember dreams?
  • Does gender affect ability to remember dreams?

Most people over the age of 10 dream at least 4 to 6 times per night. Some people are able to easily remember the dreams they have each night, while others rarely recall dreaming at all. Interestingly, it is still not clear why some remember these nightly subconscious events and some do not. This experiment will explore this question by evaluating the role of gender and age in a person’s ability to remember dreams.

Materials:

  • 10 male and 10 female test subjects from each of the following age groups: Elementary/Middle school (10-14); High school (15-18); College/Young adult (19-25); Adult (25-55); Older adult (55+)
  • Notebook for each test subject to record dreams.

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Identify male and female test subjects from the 5 age groups listed above.
  2. Ask study participants to keep a running log of their dreams for 2 weeks. Dreams should be described in the journal in as much detail as possible each morning shortly after waking. Participants should be asked to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  3. At the end of the two weeks, collect the dream journals and compare records. Do you observe differences in the number of recorded dreams among the 5 age groups? When you divide your data into male and female test subjects, do you notice any differences? Which gender or age group appears to recall dreams most vividly?

Terms/Concepts: Dream recall, REM sleep

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