Why do people dream? Dreams occur in order to keep our mental and emotional balance (Parker & Parker, 1985, p. 41). Dreaming can help an individual understand an emotional imbalance if they try to find the meaning. Some studies suggest dreaming is a way to file away and sort memories. Short term memory would be overloaded if the unimportant or insignificant thoughts were not streamed somewhere else. Even unnoticed things from the day get filed away and then are brought back entirely by surprise in a dream. Dreams are a very stimulating experience and those experiences are what help develop and strengthen neural pathways in the brain. Dreams help to make sense of neural static by triggering neural activity that evokes random visual memories, which the sleeping brain weaves into stories to make sense of the activity. Dreams reflect cognitive development, whereby the content reflects the dreamer’s cognitive development, knowledge and understanding (Myers 2014).
Traditional Dream Theories
The fascination with dreams since the beginning of time has produced many theories on what dreams mean. From before Christ, the ancients “regarded the dream not as a product of the dreaming psyche, but as an inspiration from the realm of the divine…they distinguished valuable, truth-telling dreams, sent to the sleeper to warn him or announce the future to him, from vain, deceptive, and idle dreams intended to lead him astray or plunge him into ruin” (Freud, 1999, p. 8). Sigmund Freud, considered the Father of Psychology, is perhaps the most famous dream theorist with his work in The Interpretation of Dreams. He believed the dream to be a disguised expression of the dreamer’s desires and that these desires are almost always sexual. He bel...
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Parker, D., & Parker, J. (1985). The Compleat Book of Dreaming. New York, NY: Harmony Books.
Schlachter, G. A. (1998). Current issues: Freudian dream interpretation and the reference interview. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 269-272.
Schredl, M., & Erlacher, D. (2008). Relation Between Waking Sport Activities, Reading, and Dream Content in Sport Students and Psychology Students. The Journal of Psychology, 267-275.
Sigmund Freud, T. b. (1999). The Interpretation of Dreams. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
Stickgold, R., Hobson, J., Fosse, R., & Fosse, M. (2001). Sleep, learning, and dreams: Off-line memory reprocessing. Science, 1052-1057.
van den Daele, L. (1996). Direct Interpretation of Dreams: Neuropsychology. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 253-268.
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