The reason humans dream is an often debated subject; but without a doubt at some point in human history we began to dream and likely for a reason. REM sleep has existed in mammals for million years and through this time we have evolved dreams for some purpose; so, why exactly do we dream? One theory of the purpose of dreams is abstract problem solving. Being of a visual nature occurring during the REM sleep cycle dreams have much looser associations with reality that may be beneficial for complex problem solving.
Share Shares Dreaming, much like binge-watching Netflix, is one of those things we all do, but no one seems to understand why. Psychologists tend to agree that dreaming serves no direct physical function.
However, some researchers believe that we dream for a reason and that it serves some sort of emotional, or primary, function.
These types of psychologists tend to study not only the causes of dreams but also their meanings. They delve into what dreaming can do for our bodies and our brains, such as if they can indicate how we view the world or process information. When we dream, it allows our brain to move information into long-term memory storage.
While we sleepmemories are transferred from the hippocampus to the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that processes new information and is known for cognition and knowledge. Sleep allows our brain time to transfer memories to different parts of the brain so that they can be recorded and sometimes even restored.
Studies have also found that before memories are transferred to the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus seems to replay our day, sometimes in reverse! Dreams help us deal with strong emotions, like fright, sadness, and love. Psychologists believe that dreams act to strip away emotions from events.
Researchers have found that these connections are different from the ones our brain would have made had it been fully awake. These different connections allow for the development of new perspectives by viewing situations in different ways and possibly aid in working through a tough situation by looking at it from another point of view.
The first group consisted of 35 healthy students, and the second group of 20 depressed and anxious students. These students were awakened ten minutes into a rapid eye movement REM sleep episode and then ten minutes into a non-rapid eye movement NREM sleep episode.
After these periods of sleep, the students completed memory recall, mood, and self-appraisal tests. The researchers found that the students with depression and anxiety had dreams with themes of aggression and self-victimization more often than the healthy patients.
REM sleep may help depressed and anxious patients deal with and work through their emotions regarding self-worth, sadness, and anger. They also had a tendency to hallucinate. Granted, some of these side effects could be due to an overall lack of sleep and not a lack of dreaming.
However, numerous studies have proven that most of these side effects arise from a lack of REM sleep specifically, and we only dream during REM sleep. Researchers at Harvard University conducted a study in that found a link between dreaming and common psychiatric disorders, like bipolar disorder.
Interrupted REM sleep affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones. This impairs emotional regulation and affects the way we think. Continued hormone imbalances and affected neurotransmitters are what may lead to psychiatric disorders. Although these findings are rather scary, this research has a practical application, since treating a sleep disorder may alleviate an underlying or concurrent mental disorder or prevent one from occurring.
Our brain interprets these fragments and tries to create a narrative to connect them.
These researchers found that this tends to be why our dreams are so bizarre, confusing, and creative. The creativity that arises in dreams is all due to information that has been previously stored in our brains. When we attempt to link new information to extant knowledge, we interpret it in new ways that allow us to understand how the world works.
They also found that dreaming makes us more aware of how we act in the world. Although many claims made by popular psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud have been disproved over the years, they remain an interesting topic of discussion and have made their way into mainstream literature and music.
Freud specialized in the meaning of dreams, in deriving unconscious thoughts and desires from the types of dreams we have. Freud believed that our dreams express unacceptable feelings, like sexual attraction to our own parents. He defined dreams as having manifest remembered content and latent hidden content.
Thus, dreams are a mere consequence of basic biological functioning. The authors of this theory, however, do not believe that dreams are meaningless. They believe this interpretation of biological signals aka dreams leads to something essential: For example, when an animal sleeps, it usually retires to a safe location.
Scientists believe that a period of rest prevents animals from getting hurt due to their own mistakes, essentially preserving their life. This behavioral strategy, which has been perpetuated due to natural selection, is what we now consider sleep.
The part of this theory that deals with dreams is the one that describes what happens with a lack of REM sleep. Researchers have found that when a person is not allowed to enter the REM sleep stage one night, they spend more time than usual in that stage the following night.
Such a biological response can only indicate that REM is essential for proper functioning and that animals who did not engage in it or did so for too short of a time period were slowly weeded out by evolution.Why Study Dreams? A Religious Studies Perspective.
Wendy Doniger and Kelly Bulkley 1. KEY WORDS: dreams; religion; myths; spirituality. Religion was the original field of dream study. The earliest writings we have on dreams are primarily texts on their religious and spiritual significance. and enrich the discussion among dream researchers.
Nov 02, · To Sleep, Perchance to Dream. By Alison Zimbalist (why we dream, how we dream, and what dreams mean.) Write student suggestions on the board.
2. As a class, read and analyze “New Clues to Why We Dream,” which discusses different theories on the nature of dreams. As you read the article, create columns on the board, each.
Top 10 Theories Of Why We Dream. Paulina Destarac June 17, Share Stumble. Tweet. Pin 1 +1 3. they remain an interesting topic of discussion and have made their way into mainstream literature and music. Freud specialized in the meaning of dreams, in deriving unconscious thoughts and desires from the types of dreams we have.
According to the article “Why Do We Dream” a dream “can include any of the images, thoughts, and emotions that are experienced during sleep” (Cherry). However, Some dreams do not require you to be asleep We dream for many different reasons such as to organize our brains, to help solve our.
Lesson Plan. Student Objectives. Understand Freud’s argument that our dreams contain clues to our hopes, fears, and fantasies. Examine Freud’s claims that developments in our childhood affect the way we act and the kinds of dreams we have.
5 Dream Theories. STUDY. PLAY. -lacks any scientific support; dreams may be interpreted in many different ways. information-processing. dreams help us sort out the day's events and consolidate our memories-but why do we sometimes dream about things we have not experienced?