If you dream of wringing someone's neck to the point of murder, researchers say you're more likely to be aggressive, hostile, and introverted while awake. Experts at Germany's Central Institute of Mental Health studied 443 university students' character traits as well as their dreams based on questionnaires. About 19% reported dreams in which they committed murder, and men reported higher numbers of aggressive dreams than women, LiveScience reports. Researchers concluded—perhaps not surprisingly—that those participants tended to be more aggressive in real life. The "unexpected" find, according to researchers, was that there was also a link to introverted behavior.
Introverts may hide their aggression while awake, and thus their emotions emerge in their dreams, researchers suggest. According to the study in the journal Dreaming, those emotions appear "in an exaggerated way." Critics, however, say the study is flawed. Participants reported their own personality traits, which may not be accurate, and some argue dream questionnaires may not portray dreams accurately either. Plus, the number of participants who killed people in their dreams seems high; a previous study found just 1% of men and 0.2% of women dreamed of committing murder. Researchers hope to next investigate the circumstances of dream murders, including if they occur in self-defense. (Experts have discovered a way to cause lucid dreams.)