30 September 2006

More dreams - liberals vs. conservatives

The best way to sell newspapers is by producing noisy headlines - this is commonplace. Sometimes, though, zeal of the editor may lead to a headline that really does not do justice to the article it leads. Take this one, for example:

Dream world a strange, scary place for liberals

No buts about it - the headline gets the desired attention. The article, however, is not exactly supporting the headline.

A dream researcher from John F. Kennedy University in California has discovered fundamental differences between the dream worlds of people on the ideological left and the ideological right.
Unquestionably interesting. For a person without a fixed political affiliation who is more concerned with having a good time, the article could become a turning point in his/her life. I would not recommend this article as a prime recruiting tool for conservatives on the strength of the headline alone.

The researcher took a look at several aspects of dreaming as reported by liberals and conservatives.
Among his findings, Kelly Bulkeley discovered that liberals are more restless sleepers and have a higher number of bizarre, surreal dreams - including fantasy settings and a wide variety of sexual encounters. Conservatives' dreams were, on average, far more mundane and focused on realistic people, situations and settings.

Out of the 134 liberals who participated in the study, 91 per cent said they recently dreamed about sex; only 76 per cent of 100 conservative subjects admitted the same. But Mr. Bulkeley said the two political stripes showed very different tastes in dream partners.

Liberals were far more likely to have sexual dreams about strangers and a variety of partners, while liberal women showed a greater tendency towards same-sex fantasies than their conservative counterparts (24 versus four per cent).

Meanwhile, conservatives dream of mundane events and monogamous sex, writes Chris Lackner.
Another aspect of the research was nightmares:
Liberals showed slightly higher levels of nightmares than conservatives - a statistic at odds with a similar dream study Mr. Bulkeley conducted in the late 1990s.

The study includes some of the dreams recounted by liberals, such as the following nightmare: "I was at a presidential rally where George W. Bush was speaking. There was so much red, white and blue. Bush speaks: 'There are those who say that we are giving up our civil liberties. But I say, we should be proud to sacrifice our freedoms for America!' The crowd went wild, clapping, cheering and waving flags. I awoke in a cold sweat."

Not surprisingly, Republicans had much more benign dreams about their commander-in-chief: "I was friends with George W. Bush and we were working together on his ranch. I was happy to be there."
So, what do we have here? On one hand, conservatives may have a bit less nightmares and generally wake up better rested and refreshed. On the other - their dreams are quite colorless and are mostly from the realm of "more of the same".

Liberals: on one hand, they are a bit more prone to nightmares (not much more, though). Their nightmares are very close to what a conservative will consider a happy dream, as it can be seen from the two examples above . On the other hand, their dreams have a lot of steamy and varied sex encounters, with frequency definitely higher than that of an average person's visits to a cinema or to a video rental.

Taking these differences into account, I would say that the results of this research show a much better chance of a youngster being persuaded to go the liberal way, promised a life of variety and excitement, even if only in the dreamland.

Hmm... Maybe not only a youngster. I cannot say more, what with SWMBO watching over my shoulder here. Enough said...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com