Why Do We Dream?


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This is a question philosophers and scientists struggle to answer.

There are, of course, many theories as to why we dream. From Sigmund Freud's belief that we dream about doing things we desire that we can't consciously permit ourselves to do to the theory that we just dream about random thoughts and images that we see and experience throughout the day, there are plenty of possible, and some plausible, explanations as to why our brain creates these mini movies on a a regular basis.

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Initially, dreams mostly underwent study and observation by philsophers and thinkers who were trying to use the process to better understand the human psyche. However, in more recent reasearch, neurologists have even put their two cents in:

http://dreamstudies.org/2010/01/07/neuroscience-of-dreams/

The above article is a bit to sift through but if you read even just bits of it, I'm sure you'll find it pretty fascinating.

It explains that the neuroscience of dreaming, although fairly new in the world of dream science, has nevertheless quickly become a major source of interest and experimentation. Professor J. Allan Hobson argues that dreams are what the brain makes of chemical changes and random impulses during REM. He goes on to explain that the high concentration of serotonin in the brain present while sleeping could very well be the cause of our vague memory when it comes to dreams.

As with any theory, however, Hobson's is under scrutiny and, while plausible, it is not proven.

What are your thoughts about the neurological study of dreams?

Also, if you get a chance, you should check out the different theories behind dreams linked in the second paragraph of this entry. They're all quite interesting and I'm eager to know what you think about these dream studies.

6 Comments

I've always believed that dreams are something we are trying to understand about ourselves in the subconscious. But how do we explain Deja vu? I've had multiple times when my dreams have come true.

Deja vu is actually "the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time".

I always thought dreaming was our way to keep our minds busy. Have you noticed how creative our dreams can be?

Do you guys dream in color? Do your other senses work? Like, taste? Smell?

I believe that dreams are a mixture of past experiences, present experience and desired (future) experiences. I have noticed in previous dreams that whatever topic is on my mind that day I will usually dream about, however there have been times of complete randomness in my dreams. Some make perfect sense and others make none. Why this occurs i haven't the slightest clue. Each dream is unique in it's own way and varies upon the person, their emotions and experiences.

Wow, your theories are all really interesting.
It's funny that you ask about the senses because I actually incorporated sounds and smells around me into my dream while I'm asleep.
Believe it or not, I actually had a dream in the form of Choose Your Own Adventure, like those books. I had to relive the same dream three times, each time with a different outcome. Are weird things like that common in dreams, do you think?

What happens in Deja vu is as someone above mentioned, "the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time". However, the "illusion of having previously experienced something" part is made of different cues that have collected from the past. For example, sometimes you may experience a deja vu when you are walking down a hall and you turn a corner. You may have turned similar corners in you life which forms these cues that you pick up as you are going through the present corner.

I think of dreams as a combination of our past experiences and our future ones. Also I believe some of them symbolize our deepest fears and dreams that we do not even realize. Dreams are so difficult to try to understand because people view them in different ways compared to others. Some people say that they just had a deja vu which I believe can happen because its happened to me before. One day maybe some scientist will truly find the meaning behind our dreams until then I enjoy them as being mysteries.

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