Prevalence of auditory, olfactory, and gustatory experiences in home dreams

Percept Mot Skills. 1998 Dec;87(3 Pt 1):819-26. doi: 10.2466/pms.1998.87.3.819.


Although numerous studies have investigated the content of laboratory and home dream reports, surprisingly little is known about the prevalence of various sensory modes in dreams. 49 men and 115 women completed a battery of questionnaires and kept a home dream diary for two to three consecutive weeks. Retrospective responses to the questionnaire indicate that approximately 33% of men and 40% of women recalled having experienced sensations of smell or taste in their dreams. A total of 3372 dream reports were collected and scored for unambiguous references to auditory, olfactory, and gustatory experiences. Auditory experiences were reported in approximately 53% of all dream reports. Olfactory and gustatory sensations occurred in approximately 1% of all dream reports. A significantly greater percentage of women than men reported one or more dreams containing references to olfactory sensations. The results lend support to previous studies which have shown that a variety of sensory experiences, although relatively rare, can occur in dreams.

MeSH terms

  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hearing
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensation*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smell
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste