There are many different theories why we dream
There are 2 groups of theories: Neurobiological
Neurobiological means that dreamin is a by-product of a biological process.
Psychological means that dreams are significant and a there is a reason behind them
Theory 1 = Freud
Many parts to freuds theory.
Dreams are a psychic safety valve to dispose of unnaceptable desires and urges that we supress during the day and express during the night.
This leads to the idea of wish fulfillment. we have desires to be or do something and dreams are the only sociall acceptable way of fullfilling these wishes.
They also "protect sleep" by providing imagery that keeps these desires out of the conscious mind in case we accidently recall a dream.
Freud believed that dreams were the only way of truely knowing what people are really thinking."the royal road to the unconcious".
Dreams are not expressed literally. a desire to be sexually dominated won't be shown in pure form but with imagary i.e. being held at gun point disguises this desire
Our latent content (true meaning) is shown through the symbolic (manifest content) through DREAMWORK.
Evidence For Freud's theory
SOLMS 1- supported Freud's theory using a study on patients who suffered from a stroke. Their capacity to dream was lost when the hgher forebrain was damaged (the part that govern's desires). this shows Freud's lin between desires and dreaming may be present.
SOLMS 2- found from PET scans that the rationale part of the brain (ego) is switched of during REM. The ID (our unconcious desires) is still working. this supports that the desires come through in our dreams as it cant be fact.
Refuting evidence For Freuds Theory
Braun - looked at the smae study and said that the complexity of freud's theory in volving DREAMWORK would mean that we would need the rationale part to even begin the process.
Some dreams are not fulfilling wish's, this means freud has no explanation for these dreams.
Also some eye witnesses or victimes re-live the event through there dreams with no masking or disguise.
Freud did however give reason for this stating that sometimes dreams are just warning with no hidden meaning (sometimes a cigar is just a cigar)
It is not possible however to verify interpretations of dream's. freud's theory is so subjective in all aspects, nothing is falsifiable. People will disagree with him but as everything he talks of is in the unconcious, we can't prove him right or wrong.
Theory 2 - Reverse Learning (neurobiological)
Suggests that we have unwanted information (parasitic) that can be deleted through dreaming.
During REM sleep, firing neuron's in the Brain sets off undesirable connections such as fantasies that have overloaded the cortex
This means our dreams are a by-product of a neuro-biologically necessary process
PET scans of dreamers showed activation of a part of the brain associated with the formation and consolidation of memories.
GOERTZAL - estimated that the brain takes in 100 billion billion pieces of information but can only store 100 thousand. this means that there has to be some information deleted so a possibility is for it to be deleted through dreaming.
animals such as dolphins have no REM sleep but larger brains. is this to give more room for information that can't be lost in REM like the rest of us?
FOULKES - found that dreaming is inactive until about 3-5 as there is nothing present to forget
In contrast to this, dolphines although have larger brains, have less folds n the cortex which means they have no bigger capacity so where does all of there information go?
If dreams are supposed to get rid of information, why do we remember some of our dreams? surely that means no information is lost.
SOLMS - found that when injuries occured to the brainstem, REM ceased but dreaming continued, so REM has nothing to do with it in the first place.