Is There Purpose to Our Dreams?

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We have read in our textbook that Freud believed dreams to be the "guardians of sleep" and our dreams contain the "pesky sexual and aggressive impulses by transforming them into symbols that represent the wish fulfillment"; however, today scientists have rejected the idea that our dreams protect us and wish fulfillment theories and instead believe that "dreams reflect brain activation in sleep" and that the forebrain makes sense of "random and internally generated neural signals during REM sleep" (Lilienfeld, 175). Our dreams are nothing more than fragmented ideas, thoughts, etc. that the forebrain makes sense and puts into a story.
In an article written by Gayle Green, PhD in the magazine Psychology Today, dreams are said to be more than just random ideas put together, but a way to define what creativity is. We need our dreams in order to be creative and allow for each of us to have the ability to form the creative process in our every day tasks. Without dreams, our creativity dwindles. "Sleep has survival value not only for you as an individual but for a society whose vitality depends on individuals' thinking outside the box" (Psychology Today). Robert Stickgold was quoted as saying that "dreams may help us to find new patterns and create combinations that break through well-worn ruts" (Psychology Today). Although dreams may be a random assortment of neural signals put together in the forebrain, perhaps this randomness allows for our thoughts to take shape and enable our human cognitive functions. In another article from Psychology Today, Jay Dixit wrote that "dreams are really just thinking in a different biochemical state". From these articles it could be assumed that the more we dream, the more creative we may become. Our textbook seems to think that dreams are usually "ordinary in content and seem to reflect more than random neural impulses generated by the brain stem" (Lilienfeld, 177) and that there is really nothing more to it. I think that more research should be conducted, as it would be something worthwhile to find out. Could there be some kind of link to our dreams and how creative we may be? Or, perhaps our dreams are just the formation of our random thoughts and emotions from situations and events of our day that all come together to form a random story.

My question now is this:

Are dreams more than just random neural signals, but enablers to our creativity?

2 Comments

I definitely believe that there are more to dreams than just random thoughts and emotions put together while we sleep. After reading the article I think that there could definitely be a connection between dreaming and creativeness. I am always fascinated dreams and the importance behind them, so I support any research in this field and would like to know more about it.

I agree with the fact that dreams are much more than just random neural signals, but I also believe that there are more to dreams then just a connection to creativeness. There have been instances where I have been faced with a tough decision, and have dreamed about making said decision. The next morning I wake up and had a new outlook on how to actually make that decision. This is maybe related to dreams and creativeness, regardless I definitely believe that there is meaning behind certain dreams, and almost all dreams are a creative outlet for us. I would be very interested to see more comprehensive research done regarding dreams and what they represent.

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This page contains a single entry by scott848 published on February 26, 2012 6:55 PM.

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