Theories of Sleep and Dreaming

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Theories of Dreaming. Psychodynamic theory (Sigmund Freud)1900 The Interpretation of DreamsPhysiological theory (Allan Hobson

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Theories of Sleep and Dreaming

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1. Theories of Sleep and Dreaming

2. Theories of Dreaming Psychodynamic theory (Sigmund Freud) 1900 The Interpretation of Dreams Physiological theory (Allan Hobson & Robert McCarley) 1977 Activation-synthesis theory Cognitive theory (David Foulkes) 1985 Dreaming: A cognitive-psychological analysis

3. Freud’s View of Dreams “Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious” A dream is the expression of the goals of biological drives, especially sexual drives The drive activates the brain and the interaction of drive and psychological controls creates the dream

4. 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”)

5. Psychodynamic Theory Dreams as a window on the unconscious mind ‘royal road to the unconconsious’ Dream as ‘wish fulfillment’ Day residue and manifest content Dreamwork and latent content Free association Defense mechanisms

6. Day residue/manifest content Day residue consists of events of the day that are part of the dream Manifest content is the explicit story of the dream Dreamwork converts latent content into symbols to present as manifest content

7. Mechanisms of Dreamwork Displacement One element stands for another element Condensation Two or more elements are fused into one Visual images Use of visual image to represent an element Secondary revision Creating a coherent narrative after changes

8. Interpretation of Dreams Goal is to uncover the latent content through analysis of the manifest content Method is to express and explore the associations made to dream elements Problem: How to validate the interpretation

9. Source of Dreams Clinical interview Strengths: Dreams are particularly significant Problems: Dream is recalled at a distance Individual is psychologically distressed Therapist prompts details

10. 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

11. Activation of Reticular Formation Activation of cortex Inhibition of motor neurons Rapid eye movement Vestibular activation Autonomic activation

12. Synthesis Flying Vestibular activation produces disoriented spatial sense, which is interpreted as flying Chase dreams Motor cortex activation generates commands to legs, but inhibition of motor neurons means there is no kinesthetic feedback Visual imagery activation of visual cortex

13. How It Explains Dreams

14. Interpretation of Dreams Goal is to relate dream content to activation of different parts of the brain Method is to record physiological measures and correlate those measures with activity in dream reports Problem: No way to identify content of dream from physiological measures

15. Tests of Physiological Theory Isomorphisms Specific - particular physiological reactions indicate particular kinds of dreams or dream activities Little if any support General - level of physiological reactions indicate general nature of dreams Modest support Content Nothing to say about specific content

16. Sources of Dreams Reports from subjects in sleep laboratory Strengths Dream report is immediate Conditions for sleeping are controlled Problems Possible distortion of content from lab setting Participants’ goals may not be known

17. Cognitive Theory Dreams as a form of thinking Mnemonic activation Dream production system

18. 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

19. Diffuse Memory Activation Dream elements are activated on a haphazard basis, due to residual activation from daytime, passive associations, etc. In contrast to Freud, elements are not activated by underlying sexual desires

20. Dream Production System Uses active elements to create a story One system for REM and NREM Dream recall is difficult because story construction is incompatible with story encoding

21. Children’s Dreams Increase in length with age Change from static to ‘kinematic’ Change from animal to social characters Increase in representation of self

22. Interpretation of Dreams Goal is to understand dream content in terms of processing in cognitive theory Method is to relate dream report to events in life

23. Dream Forgetting Interference hypothesis Other activity interferes with recall Dreaming interferes with encoding Salience Repression Active suppression of dreams State dependent Forgetting Encoding deficiency

24. Concluding Thoughts Are dreams special? Freud says “yes” Hobson, Foulkes say “no” Do dreams reveal personal information? All theorists agree that they can, but this is probably not a good question Do dreams tell us something about consciousness? Yes, in different ways

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