The Good That Comes From Bad Dreams (2020-2021)

This project team examined the links between COVID-19 dreams and prosocial behaviors. Team members developed a study to test the hypothesis that inducing negative dream content related to COVID-19 motivates prosocial behavior to a greater extent than positive or neutral dream content.

The three-week study design included screening patients on two criteria: strong tendencies to absorption and moderate to low levels of COVID-19 affectedness. Study participants would be randomly assigned to one of three groups and receive a different curated news story nightly via email to prime different concerns. Group 1 would receive stories about negative aspects of COVID-19; Group 2 would receive stories about negative events unrelated to COVID-19; and Group 3 would receive stories on trivia. Participants would complete two surveys each day. In the morning, they would provide short descriptions of dream content and report on dream lucidity and valence; and in the evening, they would report on current mood, anxiety, stress and prosocial behaviors for the day.

Team members had the opportunity to work with the Mind at Large lab and gained research skills in psychology, neuroscience and research study design.

Team Outputs

Research study design


Fall 2020 – Spring 2021


Team Leaders

  • Nicholaus Brosowsky, Arts & Sciences-Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Samuel Murray, Arts & Sciences-Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Paul Seli, Arts & Sciences-Psychology and Neuroscience

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Annika Agrawal, Psychology (BS)
  • Mashal Ali, Neuroscience (AB)
  • Meiru Chen, Psychology (BS)
  • Nikki Daniels, English (AB)
  • Nicole Izquierdo, Psychology (BS)
  • Nathan Liang, Psychology (BS)
  • Muhammad Nadeem, Program II (BS)
  • Elizabeth Rooks, Neuroscience (AB)
  • Akshaj Turebylu, English (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Dan Ariely, Fuqua School of Business