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Saul, L. Sheppard, E. (1956). An Attempt to Quantify Emotional Forces Using Manifest Dreams; A Preliminary Study. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 4:486-502.

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4:486-502

An Attempt to Quantify Emotional Forces Using Manifest Dreams; A Preliminary Study

Leon Saul, M.D. and Edith Sheppard, M.D.


A preliminary hostility scale has been derived from a content analysis of 500 manifest dreams obtained from 200 subjects presenting wide variation in personality structure. In using the scale one divides the dream into its "conceptual elements" similar to the independent clause, and matches the element against the 6-point scale for intensity of hostility. The scores of the elements are totaled to give the hostility rating for the dream (D.H.C.). Any dream element which represents the actual or threatened death of persons receives a rating of 6; destruction of animals or property, 5; injury to persons, 4; damage of objects other than human, 3; discomfort or minor impairment of persons, 2; of objects other than human, 1.

Seventy-eight dreams of 17 hypertensive and 16 nonhypertensive subjects were scored according to the hostility scale by three unbiased judges. It was found that the scale was reliable and that it discriminated between the hypertensive and normotensive subjects used in this study.

Although inferences from the study are limited by the presence of several uncontrolled variables, the results are encouraging. Scales for the estimation of other emotional forces are being constructed and are being applied to dreams and other psychological material. It is felt that a quantitative method for the estimation of emotional forces should cast light on certain theoretical problems and later prove of practical use.

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