Exploringn a Neurobiological Theory of Dreaming

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Exploringn a Neurobiological Theory of Dreaming Neurobiological theory of dreaming focuses on the brain and the nervous system. The activation synthesis theory which is one of the theories put forward by Hobson and Mcarley (1998) said sleep is controlled by mechanism in the brainstem. When activated this inhibits activity in the skeletal muscles and increases activity in the forebrain. This theory seems dreaming as an automatic part of the sleep process that may have no significance beyond the need to organize the material into coherent forms. Hobson points out that injection of a drug that increases the action of acetylcholine both increases REM sleep and dreaming. There is a research evidence to support the activation synthesis theory. Research was taken on cats where there is apparently random firing of cells in cat's brains during REM sleep. This then therefore produces activation in parts of the brain that are used as visual perception and the control of the motor movements and may be synthesised into a dream. Hobson also showed evidence of how internally generated signals can be misinterpreted as external signals. He said that the cortical levels of the neurotransmitters are lower during REM sleep than during NREM sleep and when we are awake. However one criticism of this theory is that the supporting research which was done for this was in a laboratory where participants slept and this however differs significantly from sleep in more natural settings. This theory is in good in explaining why smells and taste rarely or never appear in our dreams because only those parts in vision and hearing are activated. This theory also accounts for why we often find our dreams hard to understand as it stated that dreams are not functioning effectively and due to random activity. However this theory does not provide a convincing argument of the fact that some dreams possess clear meaning and coherence. This theory has little value in explaining why some time dreams are repetitive. Describe and evaluate one psychological theory of dreaming?

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