The Meaning of Dreams

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  • Created by: emily_w
  • Created on: 22-01-15 10:40
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  • What is the purpose of dreams?
    • They are a by-product of the brain's debugging system
      • Crick and Mitchinson
      • The brain is like a computer, and at night it sorts information acquired in the day.
      • To remain compact and efficient, the brain deletes unwanted 'files'
        • memories
        • neural connections
      • The brain is active while it debugs. The activity is experienced as dreams
    • They are wish fulfilment
      • Freud
      • Purpose
        • Freud believed dreams to be a manifestation of the id's unacceptable desires
        • Dreams are difficult to interpret and Freud thought this was because the id's content could be disturbing, so it expresses itself symbolically
        • The id's impulses have to be released somehow
          • The impulses are known as latent content
          • The way the id expresses itself is known as manifest content
      • Dreamwork
        • This is the means by which the id's desires are manifested into dreams. There are four aspects
        • Condensation: Many ideas are condensed into one
          • Displacement: Latent content is replaced with symbols
            • Considerations of representability: Thoughts are transferred into images
              • Secondary revision: Turns the results of the dreamwork, which are distorted, into something which akes sense
        • Displacement: Latent content is replaced with symbols
          • Considerations of representability: Thoughts are transferred into images
            • Secondary revision: Turns the results of the dreamwork, which are distorted, into something which akes sense
        • Dreamwork is necessary because the unacceptable thoughts must be transferred into something non-threatening so the person won't wake up
      • Symbols
        • The id's content can be disturbing, so it is represented with symbols
    • They are for problem solving
      • Rosalind Cartwright, 2006
      • Cartwright said dreams allow people to experiment with possible solutions to a problem
      • Procedure
        • 20 depressed and 10 control participants. All were going through a divorce
        • Gave them a test about their current concerns on three nights. Sleep was interrupted during REM so they could relate their dreams
      • Results
        • When the participants were concerned about their divorce, partner appeared in the dream.
        • As depressed participants started to feel more positive, their dreams about their partner were less negative
      • Conclusion
        • Dreaming allowed the participants to work through their concerns about the divorce and stopped their depression
    • They are a by-product of random neural activity
      • Hobson and McCarley
      • They said during REM sleep, neurons in the brain stem activate randomly
      • The frontal cortex synthesises (tries to make sense of) these impulses
      • Dreams are weird because the brain is trying to make sense of random neural activity

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