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Dream Research Project Essay

What is a dream? Dreams are a symbol and link to the inner core of the human subconscious. Dreams as scientist say are stories our brains create while we are sleeping at night. Every dream is not the same, and their qualities depend, at least in part, on the stage of sleep in which they occur. There are different stages of sleep, REM sleep is the one dreams most appear in. REM stands for rapid eye movement in which brain activity is high and signaled by rapid horizontal movements of the eyes. Like all movies, dreams have story lines.

Dreams in light sleep, stages 1 and 2, are like children’s movies short and simple. Dreams can be for as long as 20 minutes, to a few seconds. They can vary from normal and mundane, to surreal and bizarre. Dreams can often times drive creative thought, or provoke a sense of inspiration. Scientists believe everybody dreams, but sometimes we forget. We tend to forget when we naturally pass out of sleep through the traditional cycle. If a person is awoken directly from REM sleep (by an alarm clock), they are much more likely remember the dream from that REM cycle.

Psychologists have also concluded that our daily activities while we are awake can have an affect on our dreams. However, scientists are unsure of what degree of an impact this makes on us. In one study a group of people wore red-tinted goggles before they went to sleep and there was another group that did not wear the goggles before they went to sleep. Even though anyone did not know the purpose of the study, when group that wore the goggles before they slept had woken the next morning, they had reported seeing more red images in their dreams than the people without goggles.

According to First magazine, the average person has about 1. 460 dreams a year. That is 4 dreams every single day. In average you spend 10 to 30 percent of your sleeping time dreaming. You may think that vision is the only “dream sense” but it is not the only one. Vision is the prominent one, at least for sighted people. About half of all dreams an average person has have sound in them, but only 1 percent has taste, touch, or smell. However, a third of men and 40 percent of women have experienced smell or taste in a dream at least once in there life. Why do dreams occur?

There is no shortage of theories as to why we dream. Some see dreaming as an important process through which all species with complex brains analyze and consolidate information. This is supported by the fact that most mammals dream. Other theories conclude that dreaming is nothing more than random brain activity that has little to no logical relevance. Another theory is that dreams reveal wishes or desires we are not aware of during waking hours. Unrelated to that completely another theory is that the human brain contains an ample overload store of information, memories, and emotions.

During sleep, nerve cells fire at random, throwing bits of all of them together in random, wild ways. One of the first theories regarding dreams and dreaming was that Sigmund Freud. According to Sigmund Freud, dreams were heavy in symbolism and often showed the true intent and emotions of a human being. Freud saw dreams as wish fulfillment: disguised ways to satisfy unconscious desires that are too upsetting to face consciously. Dreams might therefore offer clues to unconscious conflicts.

Freud For instance, sexual desires might appear in a dream as the rhythmic motions of a horseback ride, or conflicting feelings about a parent might appear as a dream about a fight. Freud called dreams the “royal road” to the knowledge of the unconscious mind. Freud’s analysis of dreams brought about much controversy, especially amongst contemporary psychologists. Psychologists of today believe that dreams do have meaning; however, meaning is based upon the individual, not a set logic or theory as proposed by Freud.

A very popular theory today is that dreaming specifically through REM sleep is essential for making memories. Several observations support hypothesis. For one when learning a new skill, REM sleep episodes are more frequent and last longer. When the new skill is mastered, those measures drop back to the normal average. Also during REM sleep, areas in the brain’s memory forming regions appear to “replay” patterns of nerve firing associated with the new learning.

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