REM MENTAL CONTENT IN RELATION TO VBF (VAGINAL BLOOD FLOW) FLUCTUATIONS
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Fisher (1966) and Karacan, Goodenough, Shapiro and Starker (1966) found that nocturnal penile erection fluctuations were related to sexual and dysphoric dream content. Fisher, Cohen, Schiavi, Davis, Furman, Ward, Edwards, Cunningham and Gloger (In Press), utilizing the Vaginal Blood Flow (VBF) sensor, located a nocturnal female sexual response pattern that is analogous to the male pattern.;This study examined the relationship between vaginal vascular engorgement (as measured by the VBF sensor) during REM sleep and accompanying sexual and dysphoric mental content.;Seven subjects contributed 57 REM dreams from four VBF conditions under a double blind interrogation procedure. The four conditions were Flat VBF, Sudden VBF Increase, Sudden VBF Decrease and Sustained VBF Rise. The dream interrogations were standard across subjects and conditions and elicited information about dream activity, affects and associations to dreams. Dream transcripts were scored for explicit sexual content, non-explicit sexual content, sexual associations, anxiety, aggression, fear, and anxious, aggressive and fearful associations.;There were 52 dreams with recall. The Sudden VBF Increase and Sustained VBF Rise dreams had significantly more sexual content than the Flat and Sudden Decrease dreams as measured by five of seven sexual content categories. The Sustained dreams had the highest levels of dream content for all the measures. Flat dreams contained more sexual references than Sudden Decrease dreams but this difference was significant only when all dream content measures were combined (i.e. Total Sex).;Flat and Sudden Decrease dreams contained significantly greater anxiety but not aggression and fear than the Sudden Increase and Sustained dreams combined.;The Sustained dreams had the greatest number of references for all dysphoric measures.;Flat and Sudden Decrease dreams showed similar amounts of content for all categories except the dysphoric association category. There the Sudden Decrease dreams contained greater amounts of associations than the Flat dreams.;It was concluded that there is a relationship between VBF fluctuations during REM sleep and mental/dream content, and that the relationship is stronger for sexual content than for dysphoric content.
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