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Outline research relating to the nature of dreams(6 marks) The content of dreams almost always involves the dreamer, frequently with other people around them

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Charley McCarthy Highsted School Assignment 3 (a) Outline research relating to the nature of dreams (6 marks) The content of dreams almost always involves the dreamer, frequently with other people around them. It was found by Kahn et al. in a survey that we know around half of the characters in our dreams, a third are generic characters, and fewer than one in six are unknown to us. However, some research (Domhoff, 2002) has found that the content of our dreams depends entirely of our cultural background and personality, for example it was found Swiss and Dutch dreams were less aggressive than American dreams, and urban Japanese people hardly ever dreamt of animals. There are two theories explaining why we dream- neurobiological theories suggest dreams are likely to be the result of random neurological activity during REM sleep and are therefore meaningless (Hobson, 1988). However, psychological theories suggest we dream to express our emotions or work through problems, and the content could be meaningful, represented indirectly through symbols (Freud). ...read more.


The id is most important when we are dreaming as is thought to be the unconscious source of our impulses and the source of the wishes and fantasies resulting from these. The thoughts produced are irrational and instinctive, relegated to dreams because it is unacceptable to the conscious mind, known as repression). One form of this is called 'condensation', when unacceptable desires are censored and fragments are recombined until they appear in a new form. This is supported by research on neural networks, showing that they deal with excess memory by conflating and condensing 'memories' (Hopfield et al. 1983). In this primary process we can act out our wishes and desires. Freud believed that the energy invested in these would build up until it threatened our sanity unless we dreamt. However, a lot of Freud's research was based on case studies of repressed, neurotic Victorian, Viennese women and his personal experiences, so is historically and culturally biased as a sample. ...read more.


This was supported by a study finding that people undergoing marital separation and divorce had dreams related to their waking coping strategies (Cartwright et al. 1984). Cartwright agrees with Freud that dreams use symbols to portray real meanings, but believes that dream symbols convey real concerns rather than disguising them. It is also suggested that problems that have occurred throughout the day are also dealt with in dreams. Stickgold et al. (2000) found that 75% of people who played the game Tetris for several hours reported Tetris linked dreams. In contrast, neurobiological theories of dreaming see the dream experience itself simply as a bi-product of the dream that occurs accidentally. They do not see dream experiences as the function of dreaming. Although the activation-synthesis hypothesis claims that dreams have no meaning however, and that they are bizarre and incoherent, Rittenhouse et al. (1994) found discontinuities in just 34% of 200 dreams studied and Hobson (1988) found in a study of one man's dreams that they were highly consistent in content over a 3 month period. ...read more.

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