Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Sleep Positions and Personality: Zuckerman-Kuhlman's Big Five, Creativity, Creativity Styles, and Hypnotizability

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Sleep Positions and Personality: Zuckerman-Kuhlman's Big Five, Creativity, Creativity Styles, and Hypnotizability

Article excerpt

Extant studies (e.g., Dunkell, 1977, 1994; Schredl, 2002) suggest that the body, when we sleep, adopts various positions and these positions are possibly related to individual differences in defense mechanisms, everyday interactions with others, and personality characteristics (Domino & Bohn, 1980). Furthermore, the use of different methods and terms in these studies makes it difficult to draw general inferences about the relationship between sleep positions and personality. The present study was designed to comprehensively examine the relationships of selected sleep positions with Zuckerman-Kuhlman's big five characteristics, hypnotizability, creativity, and styles of creativity.

Dunkell (1977) proposed that the location of hands, feet, heels, ankles, wrists, elbows, calves, knees and thighs while asleep may carry information concerning an individual's personality. Also, the positioning of buttocks when couples sleep together may communicate something about their personality. Dunkell (1977) identified a wide variety of preferred sleep positions, including the Full-fetal, Prone, Royal, Semi-fetal, Chain-gang, Sandwich, Flamingo, Water Wings, Boxer, Mummy, Sphinx, Monkey, Dutch Wife, Barrymore, Military Brace, Cat, and Swastika. Dunkell reported that the Full-fetal Prone, Royal, and Semi-fetal were the most common sleeping positions (1977), and these four positions seem to have been most commonly evaluated across different studies.

Dunkell (1977) observed that the (a) Semi-fetal sleepers were normal and well adjusted, (b) Full-fetal and Prone sleepers were anxious and (c) Royal position sleepers were self-confident. In a later publication, Dunkell (1994, pp. 143-144) noted the Prone position sleepers to show tendencies for impulsivity, obsessive-compulsive behavior, rigidity, perfectionism, less sociability, and apt to "do well in professions like banking, accounting, business and management." The Royal position sleepers were observed to be open, expansive, self-confident, and sensation seeking. While the Semi-fetal sleepers were described as conciliatory in nature, amenable to compromises, and unlikely to take extreme stances, the Full-fetal sleepers were described as anxious and emotional.

Domino and Bohn (1980), noting that Dunkell's (1977) "evidence consists of selected clinical cases and colorful anecdotes of psychotherapeutic incidents" (p. 760), conducted an empirical study examining the relationship between the California Psychological Inventory and 14 drawings of sleep positions selected from Dunkell (1977). Their participants were 51 "normal" (p. 760) females, ranging in age from 17 to 41, who volunteered for a dream study. The participants selected one position they typically used and then completed the California Psychological Inventory. Six months later, the participants selected a sleep position from the same, but randomly ordered, drawings.

Domino and Bohn (1980) reported that preference for sleep positions was highly reliable inasmuch as 41 participants selected the same position after 6 months; only 3 chose a different sleep position. Only one person chose the prone position and none chose the royal position, a result inconsistent with Dunkell's (1977) observation that the four most common positions are Full-fetal, Semi-fetal, Prone, and Royal. However, they noted that they made no attempt to verify whether the chosen sleep positions were indeed the ones used by their participants.

Six of the 14 sleeping positions were selected for statistical analysis because they were the most common sleep positions reported: Semi-fetal (n = 13), Swastika (n =11), Dutch wife (n = 6), full fetal (n = 5), Flamingo (n = 4), and Sandwich (n = 4). A one-way Analysis of Variance completed for each of the 18 CPI scales across the six sleep positions showed significant differences among the sleep positions on the following CPI subscales: Sociability, Sense of Well-Being, Femininity, Social Maturity, and Achievement by Conformance. …

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