Dreaming: Why Do We Dream?

We often wonder why we dream and are often puzzled thinking about the mysterious content of dreams. Philosophers have been fascinated by this topic for over a hundred of years. Recently, dreams have been considered as a subject of scientific study and empirical research. Let’s try to understand and analyze the subject.

What is a dream?

Dream is a succession of action, images, thoughts and emotions which are experienced during sleep without the dreamer realizing that it is not true. Dream can also be in the form of joyful moments and they can also scary with frightening images usually called a nightmare.

Dreaming Dreaming: Why Do We Dream?

Why we dream?

Many theories try to explain the purpose behind dreaming but none have been yet considered conclusive. Apparently, dreams seem to be an ‘effect’ or what is seen, felt, thought and it is not a ‘cause’ in itself. However, dreams do have a purpose and they unravel and revive memories and thoughts that are in subconscious. At the same time, they also seem to weave new materials which enable in coping with trauma and stressful events in life.

Psychoanalytic theory of dreams

The author of the bestselling book ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ – Sigmund Freud explains that dream is a representation of that which is in one’s unconscious mind such as desires, images, thoughts, motivations and perceptions.

Dreams are a sort of gateway to the conscious state of mind from the unconscious one of thoughts, desires and emotions.

Freud had also explained the two different parts of dreams. Manifest refers to the actual components of a dream and latent refers to the psychological meaning of the dream.

Activation- Synthesis model of dreaming

The activation-synthesis model of dreaming was first proposed by J. Allan Hobson and Robert McClarley in 1977. They are of a view that during REM sleep circuits get activated in the brain resulting in the activation of those areas which are responsible for memories, sensation and emotions. Those brain areas include limbic system, amygdala and hippocampus.

Other popular theories of dream

There are also other theories apart from the above theories that try to establish the cause and importance of dreams. Some explain that dream to be representing the response of the brain to external stimuli, other theories explain that dream is the state of consciousness and creativity that we really want in our real lives.

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