Why Do People Dream?

Why do people dream? Everybody has probably asked this question at one point or another. Dreams are defined as a series of images, ideas, emotions, and feelings happening spontaneously in the mind throughout certain stages of sleep. There have been a lot of studies and speculations in recorded history but the purpose and content of dreams are not yet fully understood until now. Oneirology is the scientific study of dreams.

Whether you are having an enchanting dream or a hair-raising nightmare, you couldn’t help but ask, “Why do people dream?” This question is often asked but rarely does one get a correct answer. There are numerous scientifically based theories on why people dream.

If you will have an opportunity to ask psychologist Sigmund Freud the question “Why do people dream?” then you will probably be pleased with his answer. According to his psychoanalytic model, dreams are a representation of repressed or suppressed wants that a person usually hides from himself due to the stigmatic nature of these desires. What happens is a person could express these wants in his dream, which is a non-judgmental environment. For instance, what causes a dream to shift into a nightmare state is perceived to be a means of dealing with inner worries or deep-rooted fears and a way to relieve everyday pressures.

Freud also explained two different elements of dreams: manifest content and latent content. Manifest content is made up of the real images, thoughts and contents within the dream. On the other hand, latent content symbolizes the concealed psychological meaning of the dream.

There are a lot other theories that have tried to answer the question, “Why do people dream?” One theory states that dreams are results when our brains try to interpret external stimuli when we sleep. An example is the sound of the radio being incorporated into the content of a dream.

Another theory makes use of a computer metaphor to explain dreams. In this theory, dreams are able to clean up the clutter from the mind just like clean-up operations in a computer. It refreshes the mind in preparation for the next day.

Another interesting model states that dreams are a form of psychotherapy. According to this theory, the dreamer can make connections between various thoughts and emotions in such a safe environment.

In a contemporary model of dreaming, it combines a few of elements of various theories. It suggests that the activation of the brain makes loose correlations between ideas and thoughts, which are then directed by the emotions of the person who is dreaming.

Which of these theories do you think accurately answer the question on why people dream?

Posted at June 24th, 2011.

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