Why Do We Dream?


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I know we discussed our dreams before...reasons on why do we sleep etc...but what is the necessity for dreams do they have a deep hidden message from sub-concious memory.??

Philosophers and writers as far back as Aristotle have speculated on the reason for dreams, but the first theory to really catch attention was the one proposed by Sigmund Freud at the turn of the century. Freud believed that people dream to relieve sexual frustration created by repressed or hidden desires, allowing them to act on forbidden impulses. However, he felt that because the rules of polite society reject such impulses, people had to disguise their true feelings using symbolic imagery. So instead of dreaming about sexual intercourse, a person might dream about a train entering a tunnel. Freud's theory has been widely disseminated and popularized through literature, television and movies, but most contemporary psychologists feel that it is riddled with problems. First, almost all mammals dream, and it is hard to believe that our pets feel the societal pressure to conform to sexual mores. This argument applies to infants as well, since fetuses and newborns spend twice as much time dreaming than adults do. Furthermore, not all dreams involve sex or sexual imagery. Even Freud admitted, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

In the late 1970s, Hobson and McCarley proposed the activation-synthesis hypothesis of dreaming, which maintains that a dream is simply a reflection of the brain’s aroused state during REM sleep. During this period, the cerebral cortex is active but is largely shut off from sensory input. Internal stimuli such as memories become more prominent because they do not have to compete with information pouring in through the senses. According to Hobson and McCarley, the memories most likely to come to mind are the most recent ones, which would explain why we often dream of the previous day's events. The cortex performs its usual job and attempts to integrate the messages into a coherent narrative, but the fractured images combine in bizarre ways that make sense only within the context of the dream. However, dreams are not objective playbacks of our memories. They are stories colored by thoughts, hopes and wishes that have deeply personal meaning. This would explain why we often dream about people, places and events that have emotional significance for us.

Another theory about dreaming comes from the field of memory research. This theory holds that the reiteration of memories in our dreams serves to solidify the memory's storage. Support for this idea comes from studies where subjects learned a set of words before undergoing a period of REM sleep deprivation. The group that did not get any REM sleep recalled fewer words than the group that was allowed to experience REM sleep. These findings prompted neuroscientists to examine the brain for patterns of neuronal activity that occurred both during waking and sleeping. This is a difficult task even in a rat brain, since there are billions of possible synaptic connections. Where to look first? In Bruce McNaughton's lab, they concentrated on spatial learning and the hippocampus. They found that neuronal circuits in the hippocampus that were active while the rat was learning a spatial task (such as a maze) were reactivated when the animal went to sleep. These results are exciting, but so far there is no hard evidence that memory reactivation during sleep has functional significance. While the REM sleep deprivation experiments would suggest that sleep and memory are connected, such findings are always difficult to interpret because lack of sleep usually makes people irritable and less focused...


The physiological theory centers upon how our body, specifically our brains, function during the REM phase of sleep. Proponents of this theory believe that we dream to exercise the synapses, or pathways, between brain cells, and that dreaming takes over where the active and awake brain leaves off. When awake, our brains constantly transmit and receive messages, which course through our billions of brain cells to their appropriate destinations, and keep our bodies in perpetual motion. Dreams replace this function.

Two underpinning physiological facts go towards supporting this theory of dreams. The first lies in the fact that the first two or so years of ones life, the most formative ones for learning, are also the ones in which the most REM sleep occurs. It follows that during this time of the greatest REM sleep, we experience the greatest number of dreams. The second physiological fact that lends credence to this theory is that our brain waves during REM sleep, as recorded by machines measuring the brain's electrical activity, are almost identical in nature to the brain waves during the hours we spend awake. This is not the case during the other phases of sleep...
The elusive and personal nature of dreams makes them challenging to study, but researchers are making inroads toward unlocking their meaning.

any inputs to this would be welcome...

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An interesting experiment conducted by MIT that i would like to add here is about dreams,but i am not sure about its relation to topic ,i felt like sharing the stuff with you all...

to find out wether external media during sleep effects dreams or not.

a human guniea pig,some water.

the man was allowed to sleep untill the REM sleep part.after a while a little water is sprayed in the man...after the sleep is over he is asked about his dreams...

the dream the man had a strange co-incidence or whatever.he tells the examiner that he was with a lovely lady on a date,after a while when they having dinner at a restauraunt the roof started leaking and water poured from all the sides into the room. after that he woke up...

Consider dream like Norton Utility to optimize your brain....set to automatic...except mucho sophisticated.
Why do we dream? Because kung-fu battles against evil alien invaders are fun, and I like spaceships.

On the other hand, we kinda sit around like vegetables 8 hours a day. Gotta get some use out of it. The subconscious seeps through, tells us what we really need, gives us what we need in some cases, and the real world outside starts to make sense. Hopefully.
Originally posted by kmguru
Consider dream like Norton Utility to optimize your brain....set to automatic...except mucho sophisticated.


do you mean its like running complete scan and watching movie meanwhile...????

JR's Dream theory

Here's my own dream theory :

Some people say we remember everything, down to the smallest details, but just can't recall it all later on. I don't believe that. We take in far too much information every day to cram it all into our brains. What we need is some way to filter out all the unimportant stuff and keep the important stuff. I think dreaming is what happens when the brain does its spring cleaning. It throws out the rubbish and solidifies the important long-term memories. At the same time, there is some random association of memories as the brain searches for the best way to fit new information into its matrix.

This theory © 2001. Remember it was my idea if the Nobel prize committee comes looking here. :)
hi JR,

agreed on not remembering things out...
not remembering dreams correctly is important...that supports the fact that if dreams are merely caused by random electric signals from brain stem then these random things may or may not be correct prior to logical thinking,so your idea comes here of rejecting less important thing out...


PS:in view of copyright...Dont become Bill Gates... ;)

bye again!:cool:
I would say that dreaming was a method of depolarising neural pathways from the days usage (This is why sometimes a neural pathway becomes severed, when it lacks usage, but is also when new pathways emerge)

Of course in recent cases done by an experiment at an unmentioned university.

To discover more about the human psyche, physiology and neurological attributes

One human guinea pig, One Matrix array, a lazer guided nanobot and a stupidly idiotic time period

proceedure: Due to a mixture of the Pauli effect, and Heisenbergs Uncertainty principle at a philosophical level, the Human Guinea pig isn't told that he is apart of an experiment. A Matrix array (That is shared between the universities) is used to follow him where ever he goes with the use of a nanobot inserted by a lazer guideing. This involves it being dropped from an aircraft an allowed to freefall, with the use of the lazer guiding and the use of the matrix array it finds it's target, the guinea pigs eye (or other orifice).

The nanobot can then be superconducted to burn into the skin and "Implant itself", due to the nanobot being triangulated in the matrix it's possible to use the matrix to create a hypnotic effect to block out pain. (and in some cases has been used to insert falsehoods of alien abductions)

The guinea pig can now be interacted with via the matrix array, and tracked via the nanobot, although metal detectors have a tendency to go off when in the vicinity.

The guinea pig is now followed without direct interaction from his watchers. (afterall he would be a little sore at them to start with)

Well you have a walking Cyberneticist that is matrixed to a neural network, that has no clue of doing such tasks. But whole new understandings of how the mind processes information, and how emotions are involved in decision making begin to be understood... experiment still ongoing.
Hi JR,

Too bad, your idea is already out there. I have discussed that either in this forum or philosophysphere.com about a year ago and my posting before you. :D

Hi, zion:

Not a complete scan every night. For that you need Meditation techniques I discussed in previous posts. My understanding is that Pineal gland works as a playback mechanism for the brain. Either it is evolving over time so that we will have a full fledged reverse eye (playback of sensor data) in the future or animals have it and we lost it.

The movies come from background processing of memories and computation to solve issues for agility and sustenance.

I can't point out any links yet, as I still have to talk to certain people about releasing the data to Public Domain. (The data will be available in the future I'm sure, but it's just a question of WHEN)

I will try to Coordinate some material soon in regards to what I mentioned, it's just 2+ years of notation is going to take a little time to sort out.

I'll keep www.sciforums.com posted though :D
This involves it being dropped from an aircraft an allowed to freefall,

Dropping a naobot from an aircraft. Hmmm. Then.....

with the use of the lazer guiding

A naobot big enough to put a LASER guidence system into. Hmmmm. Then.....

The nanobot can then be superconducted to burn into the skin

A naobot big enough to put, not only a LASER guidence sytem into, but also capable of room temperature superconduction. Hmmmm.

I can't point out any links yet, as I still have to talk to certain people about releasing the data to Public Domain.

Maybe they know that people will laugh at them.

Before I start to question your Reply...

Happy New year... And if you see that fire coming across the outback... Get out of the way, or conversation is going to end up a bit one sided.

Okay, I said one nanobot, But I didn't mention that a whole processed 100 could be dispersed from anything like a weather balloon to a rocket, not necessarily an aircraft.

As for you concerning yourself with "Lazer guiding" simply put, Lazers are a frequency and a small Radio frequency transmitter/reciever is enough to take the place of a lazer.

When you question of the energy such a nanobot would consume, you should question the RF array, since that could "Microwave" a nanobot's internals enough to enduce heat and power.

Thus creating a Super-conduction. I mention superconduction purely because the conduction that a Semi-conductor can enduce creates enough heat to burn into that of a biological body, without damaging the semi-conductor.

Of course the pain would be felt unless some hypnotism was enduced through it's triangulation to blot out the pain. (you might think of Alien Abduction stories.)
Stryder your statement long time back in a thread in Intelligence and Machines,triggered off an idea.when we suffer from migrain,its mainly because of random orientations etc isnt it?,if that is true then,somehow by applying a potential(Safely,Via electrodes)can free it from Pain...??:confused:


we dont stop thinking, ever, its just that the only time we are alert to our subconscious is when our conscious rests.
About 2 months back a friend of mine had a dream that she didn't understand.

Her dream was basically this: she started off near the top floor of a very, very tall building with her family. She's trying to tell her mom that there are problems with the building and that it's about to fall over. Her mom won't listen to her. Neither her sister or father are in the building. After giving up with warning her mother she runs to a building right beside it and goes to the top floor where her English class is taking place. She starts trying to warn her friends of the troubles and the falling building except all they can do is talk about their own problems. She then attempts to tell the teacher, who tells her she's wrong.

Now, a little background. The girl never speaks to her father and can't stand her sister who is rarely around her. Her mother insists she is always wrong and the girl feels incredibly distant from her mother. She feels as though her mother never understands her.
She does not too great in school and feels her teachers simply are against her. Her friends are gossipy to a point she can't stand. She rarely feels as though her own emotions are understood.

Obviously, the two buildings about to topple are representative of what she feels is falling around her in life. She has seen herself go from a kid with a loving mother to a young adult with no lines of communication to her mom. She has seen herself loose friends over time and now is with ones who she feels are uncaring for her. Obviously, the fact that MOTHER and SCHOOL and FRIENDS are at the top of the two buildings, they represent what she feels are volatile in her life. That she is trying to save these people's lives and they won't listen to her shows how dire the situation is to her.

Now, either her subconscience is conjuring up these metaphors, or it's a huge coincidence. I'll let you decide.
The latest theory I saw last year was that dreaming corresponded directly with increase protein production in the synapses.

The synapses are the chemical connections between neurons in the brain. During waking hours the proteins in the synapses are consumed. It seems the dream state is when these proteins are replenished.

This can be further supported when it is realized that hallucinogenic drugs directly affect the synapses by altering their behavior. It makes sense that if the protein content in the synapses changes (replenished) then the behavior of those synapses will also be temporarily affected during that process resulting in mild hallucinations, i.e. dreams.

This also explains why going too long without sleep and dreaming will result in insanity. In effect the brain ceases to function correctly because of exhausted synapses.

Dreams really have no meanings. Any perceived meanings are the result of the brain's normal technique of attempting to interpret incomplete information.

I think dream is a necessary indicator as to how well your body repairs itself including brain chemicals and peptides.

So, dream well and stay healthy. I found, a combination of Melatonin and Methylcobalmin does wonders to my rest and sweetens my dreams.

News about melatonin seems to have fizzled recently and I have seen reports that it probably has no effect for anti-aging, which is what attracted me to to it in the first place.

As for sleep, it didn't seem to have any effect on me, and I tried it for jet lag as well, and even then it didn't have any measureable effects.

I sleep pretty good anyway and since there were reports that it didn't do anything then I have decided to save my money for the moment.


If your melatonin level is already normal, anymore addition could be mopped up by the body feedback mechanism. I found 6mg in the first night on trips helps me sleep. I do not use Ambien on trips because several times hotel fire alarms have sounded and I wanted to be able to wake up in such events. At home I can not tell the difference in the quality of sleep. Having said that, the combination of Melatonin and Methylcobalmin seems to expand the dream state - it could be my anticipation or the chemicals do something, I do not know. But as long as they work and Vitamins are good for you, who am I to complain.