Dreams: Their Purpose and Meaning Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2728 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Psychology

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] However, an attempt has been made to differentiate the dreams using the preceding sleep stage, feelings encountered, relative proximity to reality and the causal demarcation. EEG tests have been able to mark out four succeeding stages of sleep with each lasting roughly for two hours or thereabouts. Amongst the first things that sleep confers is to rest the mental activity, the period of psychological resting stage wherein the brain filters away thoughts and emotions and chooses to distinguish between trash and the retainable experiences. These are two stages that constitute the D-sleep, the desynchronized EEG. The remaining two, the later ones are the ones dedicated for the physical rest required by the body. This is the S-Sleep or synchronized EEG sleep period. The D-sleep period is the most likely time for dreams to occur. That is not to say that dreams don't occur during S-sleep.

The next difference in dream types is that REM is likely to be seen in only the D-type of sleep. This activity is less observed during the second stage of sleep. So, there are, according to researchers the REM and NREM types of sleep patterns that can be assigned with dreams. Most of the dreams occur during the REM type about eighty percent. Only a fifth of the dreams may be seen during NREM sleep. Meaning if people are to wake up during REM, they are most likely to state being in a dream. The recall value associated with REM dreams is much higher. The quality of the dreams is also much more than that compared to NREM dreams. Better recollection of dreams is generally found to be directly proportionate to greater wakefulness. The higher the frequency of dreams, the better the person can be expected to relive the dream.

Another important observation that has been brought out by studies is that the way people daydream has a like bearing on the way they are likely to see dreams in sleep. A positive, uplifting day dreamer is likely to experience the same vigor and drive even in his dreams when asleep. Those who are victims of not so pleasant dreams are found to be guilty of negative emotions and anxious thoughts or a feeling of remorse. Amongst all dreams that carry feelings as their content, the majority (almost 60-70%) of those can be assigned to the negative ones. Falling off the cliff, being chased or relaying of a disliked happening are amongst the most commonly experienced negative dreams reported. This often results in profuse sweating, disorientation, or sudden awakening, however, they do not last very long and the recollection is also very feeble in such cases.

In a study in England by researchers of University of Warwick, children are often plagued by night terror following psychological traumas faced by teenagers, mostly in early teens. An extremely violent and murderous act faced by a teenager is likely to cause PSTD (post traumatic stress disorder). The affected person relives the dreams of violence and aggression repeatedly, night after night, and may keep appearing throughout the sleep cycle, and is not limited to any particular; REM or NREM duration of the sleep. There have also been reported cases where the dreaming person acts out what he had been dreaming. Such cases are said to have been linked to dementia in aged people with Lewy bodies (Chara, 2014).

Section 2

Evaluation

We, human beings spend roughly8 hours of a day in sleeping and armed with the information that we are in a dream state for 2 hours in that duration, we effectively dream for about a decade given a life span of 75-80 years.

Some of the oldest literature mentioning dreams are The Epic of Gilgames (3500 BCE), Chester Beatty Pappyrus that dates back to the 1991-1786 BCE the period of the twelfth dynasty, Genesis, supposedly authored and inspired by Moses, during 1446-1406 BCE (Abimelech, being visited by God in his dreams, during the era of Abraham and Sarah), Artemidorus Daldianus in 2nd century BCE wrote Oneirocritica ( here an overview of the meaning attached to dreams in those times are enlisted ), that literally means The Interpretations of Dreams.

I believe that the various states from which dreams consciousness should be differentiated to be understood fully are:

Those having a vision; a state of a person in full consciousness and awake having a view of incidents that are over and above the real life situation.

Hallucination: imagery of the kind a person has that depicts a twisted view of real life scene.

Hypnagogic or Hypnopompic: that state of altered awareness appearing on the brink of falling asleep or just after awaking from a sleep, during which times a person is still coming to terms with the real-time effects.

Removed from all these states of altered consciousness, dreams are those occur or are seen when in deep sleep. Dreams are a fully played out sequence of events so much so that they can be easily confused with real life situations. Dreams contain all the elements that are present in real life, day-to-day living conditions with possibly the same people appearing in the dreams and senses of voice, visual, taste, smell and feel, all felt in parallelism to real life. The other altered states of consciousness are bereft of these detailed experiences (Chara, 2014).

I believe that the shifting of consciousness in the dream state especially during the REM period needs further investigation. How is it that a person so disoriented is being able to lucidly make out an entire real life like episode filled with all real life places, things, people sound and vision, and in what way does the brain conjure up this act even when supposedly at rest. I am inclined to believe that the interrelation of the dreams and workings of the brain hence needs more investigation. Much has been read about REM dreams that they can be easily related to and recalled vividly, but studying them alone would not suffice, I think. Because dreams are seen even in NREM sates.

Given the vast literature that was accessible to me and the amount of experiments conducted by researchers and philosophers the world over for times immemorial I see it as a wonderful if intriguing correlation of neural structure of the brain and psychology. I cannot but hence agree that dreams are a world in their own. That the contents of the dreams and patterns have been studied from neurophysiological point-of-view with relation to imagery, I am given to understand that there is now a greater importance attached to questions that involve both these facets simultaneously. The questions that I would want this study to pose for further investigation is: is perception causing dreaming, or is it imagery that is causing dreams to occur. I also think that the brain functioning that goes into the making of a dream needs more understanding.

References

Asian News International. (2010, July 15). Here's Why We Dream. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from Factiva: https://global-factiva-com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/ga/default.aspx

Nir, Y., & Giulio, T. (2010). Dreaming and the brain: from phenomenology to neurophsyiology. . Retrieved September 19, 2014, from ScienceDirect - Simon Fraser University Library: http://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/science/article/pii/S1364661309002678

Chara, P. (2014, January). Dreams. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from Excelsior College Library: http://vlib.excelsior.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=93871894&site=eds-live&scope=site [END OF PREVIEW]

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