Altered States of Consciousness Dreaming
What are dreams? Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. Charles Fisher What are dreams? Electrochemical events that involve the brainstem, areas of the cortex, and the eyes
Dreams The link between REM sleep and dreaming has opened up a new era of dream research. 3
Why do we dream? There are five major theories about why we dream. Decide for yourself which one is right.
Dream Theories Summary 5
Freud’s wish-fulfillment Theory • Dreams are the key to understanding our inner conflicts • Ideas and thoughts that are hidden in our unconscious • Manifest and latent content
Freud’s theory of dreams • While awake, a wish is not always acted upon because considerations of both reality (the ego) and morality (the super ego) • But during sleep, these restraints are drastically weakened and the wish then leads to immediate thoughts and images of gratification. • Freud began with the assumption that at the root of every dream lies an attempt at wish fulfillment.
Freud’s theory of dreams • The underlying wish touches upon some forbidden impulses/desires that might be associated with anxiety. • Therefore, the wish is censored (cannot be expressed directly) – only allowed to surface within a dream in symbolic disguise. • The dreamer never experiences the latent (underlying) dream that is the hidden wish Instead, the dreamer experiences the manifest (obvious) dream emerging after the defense mechanisms have done their work.
Latent vs Manifest • Latent Content: the underlying meaning of a dream. • Manifest Content: the remembered storyline of a dream. • This latent-manifest dreaming represents a compromise between forbidden urges (id) and repressive forces (super ego) that hold them down. • Essentially, according to Freud, dreaming is a symbolic process. True forbidden wishes are veiled in symbolic disguises.
Information-Processing Theory • Dreams act to sort out and understand the memories that you experience that day • REM sleep does increase after stressful events
Information-Processing Theory • Supported by research that shows memory improves with dreaming. • Babies have lots of REM sleep
Why Dream? • During REM sleep, the cerebral cortex is active, but it is largely shut off from sensory input. • The brain’s activity then is not constrained by the demands of external reality. • The recent experiences of the day are usually evoked, and they then arouse a number of previous memories and intermingle them.
Physiological Function Theories Activation-Synthesis Theory: • during the night our brainstem releases random neural activity, dreams may be a way to make sense of that activity.
Physiological Function Theories Activation-Synthesis Theory: Devised by Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley Dreams are caused by neurons sending signals to the body’s motor systems. But during REM sleep there is muscular inhibition. The brain responds by creating dreams using memory systems.
Another theory… Physiological Function Theory : Dreams provide the sleeping brain with periodic stimulation to develop and preserve neural pathways. Neural networks of newborns are quickly developing; therefore, they need more sleep. 16
Cognitive Theory • Dreams as a form of thinking • Mnemonic activation • Dream production system
Dreams as a Form of Thinking • Dreams are symbolic acts • Dreams are based on what we know • children have simpler dreams than adults • Dreams use dissociated pieces of memory and knowledge • Dreams are organized • Dreams have realistic features • People are people; objects are real
Physiological Theory • Activation-synthesis theory • Activation of reticular formation • Biological rhythm of sleep-wake cycle produces activity in reticular formation, which activates various brain centers • Synthesis by cortex of activity • Primary source of dreams are stimuli generated within the brain
What do we dream about? Dream content Most common themes: falling, being chased/attacked, repeatedly trying but failing to do something What influences the dreams we have Concerns of your everyday life External stimuli Yourself Lucid dreaming
What do we Dream? Negative Emotional Content: 8 out of 10 dreams have negative emotional content. Failure Dreams: People commonly dream about failure, being attacked, pursued, rejected, or struck with misfortune. Sexual Dreams: Contrary to our thinking, sexual dreams are sparse. Sexual dreams in men are 1 in 10; and in women 1 in 30. Dreams of Gender: Women dream of men and women equally; men dream more about men than women. 21
Why do we dream? Wish Fulfillment: Sigmund Freud suggested that dreams provide a psychic safety valve to discharge unacceptable feelings. The dream’s manifest (apparent) content may also have symbolic meanings (latent content) that signify our unacceptable feelings. Information Processing: Dreams may help sift, sort, and fix a day’s experiences in our memories. 22
Why do we dream? Activation-Synthesis Theory: Suggests that the brain engages in a lot of random neural activity. Dreams make sense of this activity. Cognitive Development: Some researchers argue that we dream as a part of brain maturation and cognitive development. All dream researchers believe we need REM sleep. When deprived of REM sleep and then allowed to sleep, we show increased REM sleep called REM Rebound. 23
Dream Forgetting Interference hypothesis Other activity interferes with recall Repression Interest in dreams helps recall Keep a dream journal Power of suggestion: “I will remember my dreams.”
Concluding Thoughts Are dreams special? Do dreams reveal personal information? Do dreams tell us something about consciousness? Can dreams be used in therapy?
Freud’s Theory of Conscious and Unconscious Processes • Three psychological entities • Ego • conscious, socialized • Id • unconscious, not socialized, drives and desires • Super-ego • quasi-conscious, ideals (“conscience”)
Introduction • What is lucid dreaming? • Dreams in which you know that you are dreaming. • Levels of lucid dreaming and awareness • High-level lucidity • Low-level lucidity • How common are lucid dreams? • "About 58% of the population have experienced a lucid dream at least once in their lifetime, while about 21% report it with some frequency (one or more a month). – Jayne Gackenbach
History • 415 AD written in a letter by St. Augustine. • Practiced by Tibetan Buddhists for a thousand years through a form of dream yoga • 1913 Term coined by Frederick Van Eeden • Modern research- Stephen LaBerge and Lynn Nagel of Stanford University
3 Origins of Lucid Dreams • Dream-Initiated Lucid Dream (DILD)-Begins as a normal dream until the dreamer concludes he or she is dreaming • Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD)-Dreamer transitions from a normal waking state directly into a dream state without an apparent lapse in consciousness • Mnemonic-Initiated Lucid Dream (MILD)-Dreamer intentionally decides that he or she will become lucid during their upcoming sleep
CHARACTERISITICS • The beginning of lucidity is marked by distinct eye movements • Occurs late during the REM sleep cycle • Induced by some sort of “cue” • Recognition of this “cue” is made possible by higher cortical arousal • Waking up from a lucid dream feels more real than waking from a normal dream • This is due to the higher cortical arousal experienced during lucid dreaming
Experimental Inducement • Experimental Training • M.I.L.D. Technique(LaBerge, 1981) • “Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams” • Increases occurrence of lucid dreams • Mental and verbal rehearsals upon waking and before sleeping • Incorporate into Long-Term Memory “I will have a lucid dream tonight”
Lucid Dreaming • Lucid dreaming occurs when dreamers realize that they are dreaming (lucid dreaming can occur with varying levels of awareness and dream control) • The dreamers are sometimes capable of changing their dream environment and controlling various aspects of their dream. • The dream environment is often much more realistic in a lucid dream, and the senses heightened • The realization is usually triggered by the dreamer noticing some impossible or unlikely occurrence in the dream
Lucid Dreaming • Dream-initiated lucid dreaming: Starts off as a normal dream until the dreamer realizes that they’re dreaming • Wake-initiated lucid dreaming: The dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state with no apparent lapse in conscousness • Time passage appears to be the same during lucid dreaming as when awake