Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Popular culture

 Modern popular culture often conceives of dreams, like Freud, as expressions of the dreamer's deepest fears and desires. In films such as Spellbound (1945), The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Inception (2010), the protagonists must extract vital clues from surreal dreams.

Peter Weir's 1977 Australian movie "The Last Wave" makes a simple and straightforward postulate about the premonitory nature of dreams (from one of his Aboriginal characters) that "...dreams are the shadow of something real".
The recall of dreams is extremely unreliable, though it is a skill that can be trained. Dreams can usually be recalled if a person is awakened while dreaming. Women tend to have more frequent dream recall than men. Dreams that are difficult to recall may be characterized by relatively little affect, and factors such as salience, arousal, and interference play a role in dream recall. Often, a dream may be recalled upon viewing or hearing a random trigger or stimulus. A dream journal can be used to assist dream recall, for psychotherapy or entertainment purposes. For some people, vague images or sensations from the previous night's dreams are sometimes spontaneously experienced in falling asleep. However they are usually too slight and fleeting to allow dream recall. At least 95% of all dreams are not remembered. Certain brain chemicals necessary for converting short-term memories into long-term ones are suppressed during REM sleep. Unless a dream is particularly vivid and if one wakes during or immediately after it, the content of the dream will not be remembered.
During the night there may be many external stimuli bombarding the senses, but the brain often interprets the stimulus and makes it a part of a dream in order to ensure continued sleep. Dream incorporation is a phenomenon whereby an actual sensation, such as environmental sounds, are incorporated into dreams, such as hearing a phone ringing in a dream while it is ringing in reality or dreaming of urination while wetting the bed. The mind can, however, awaken an individual if they are in danger or if trained to respond to certain sounds, such as a baby crying. Except in the case of lucid dreaming, people dream without being aware that they are doing so. Some philosophers have concluded that what we think of as the "real world" could be or is an illusion (an idea known as theskeptical hypothesis about ontology). There is a famous painting by Salvador DalĂ­ that depicts this concept, titled "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening" (1944). The first recorded mention of the idea was by Zhuangzi, and is also discussed in Hinduism makes extensive use of the argument in its writings. It was formally introduced to Western philosophy by Descartes in the 17th century in his Meditations on First Philosophy. Stimulus, usually an auditory one, becomes a part of a dream, eventually then awakening the dreamer. The term "dream incorporation" is also used in research examining the degree to which preceding daytime events become elements of dreams. Recent studies suggest that events in the day immediately preceding, and those about a week before, have the most influence.

Dreams of absent-minded transgression

Dreams of absent-minded transgression (DAMT) are dreams wherein the dreamer absentmindedly performs an action that he or she has been trying to stop (one classic example is of a quitting smoker having dreams of lighting a cigarette). Subjects who have had DAMT have reported waking with intense feelings of guilt. One study found a positive association between having these dreams and successfully stopping the behaviour.

Lucid dream

Lucid dreaming is the conscious perception of one's state while dreaming. In this state a person usually has control over characters and the environment of the dream as well as the dreamer's own actions within the dream.The occurrence of lucid dreaming has been scientifically verified.
Oneironaut is a term sometimes used for those who lucidly dream.

Dream interpretations

Dreams were historically used for healing (as in the asclepieions found in the ancient Greek temples of Asclepius) as well as for guidance or divine inspiration. Some Native American tribes used vision quests as a rite of passage, fasting and praying until an anticipated guiding dream was received, to be shared with the rest of the tribe upon their return.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung identified dreams as an interaction between the unconscious and the conscious. They also assert together that the unconscious is the dominant force of the dream, and in dreams it conveys its own mental activity to the perceptive faculty. While Freud felt that there was an active censorship against the unconscious even during sleep, Jung argued that the dream's bizarre quality is an efficient language, comparable to poetry and uniquely capable of revealing the underlying meaning.
Fritz Perls presented his theory of dreams as part of the holistic nature of Gestalt therapy. Dreams are seen as projections of parts of the self that have been ignored, rejected, or suppressed. Jung argued that one could consider every person in the dream to represent an aspect of the dreamer, which he called the subjective approach to dreams. Perls expanded this point of view to say that even inanimate objects in the dream may represent aspects of the dreamer. The dreamer may therefore be asked to imagine being an object in the dream and to describe it, in order to bring into awareness the characteristics of the object that correspond with the dreamer's personality.

Dream content

The visual nature of dreams is generally highly phantasmagoric; that is, different locations and objects continuously blend into each other. The visuals (including locations, characters/people, objects/artifacts) are generally reflective of a person's memories and experiences, but often take on highly exaggerated and bizarre forms.

The most common emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety. Other emotions include abandonment, fear, joy, happiness, etc. Negative emotions are much more common than positive ones.

The Hall data analysis shows that sexual dreams occur no more than 10% of the time and are more prevalent in young to mid-teens. Another study showed that 8% of men's and women's dreams have sexual content. In some cases, sexual dreams may result in orgasms or nocturnal emissions. These are colloquially known as wet dream.

While the content of most dreams is dreamt only once, many people experience recurring dreams—that is, the same dream narrative is experienced over different occasions of sleep. Up to 70% of females and 65% of males report recurrent dreams.

A small minority of people say that they dream only in black and white.
In this extract of the movie "Gainsbourg". Serge Gainsbourg has some hallucination, seeing his "gueule", his face, talking to him while he is asleep.


Dreams are a product of "dissociated imagination," which is dissociated from the conscious self and draws material from sensory memory for simulation, feedback resulting in hallucination. By simulating the sensory signals to drive the autonomous nerves, dreams can affect mind-body interaction. In the brain and spine, the autonomous "repair nerves," which can expand the blood vessels, connect with compression and pain nerves. Repair nerves are grouped into many chains called meridians in Chinese medicine. When a repair nerve is prodded by compression or pain to send out its repair signal, a chain reaction spreads out to set other repair nerves in the same meridian into action. While dreaming, the body also employs the meridians to repair the body and help it grow and develop by simulating very intensive movement-compression signals to expand the blood vessels when the level of growth enzymes increase.

Dreams for removing junk

Robert (1886), a physician from Hamburg, was the first who suggested that dreams are a need and that they have the function to erase (a) sensory impressions which were not fully worked up and (b) ideas which were not fully developed during the day. By the dream work incomplete material will be either removed or deepened and included into memory. Robert's ideas were cited repeatedly by Freud. Hughlings Jackson (1911) viewed that sleep serves to sweep away unnecessary memories and connections from the day. This was revised in 1983 by Crick and Mitchison's "reverse learning" theory, which states that dreams are like the cleaning-up operations of computers when they are off-line, removing parasitic nodes and other "junk" from the mind during sleep. However, the opposite view that dreaming has an information handling, memory-consolidating function (Hennevin and Leconte, 1971) is also common. Dreams are a result of the spontaneous firings of neural patterns while the brain is undergoing memory consolidation during sleep.

Jie Zhand : Continual-activation theory

Jie Zhang proposes that dreaming is a result of brain activation and synthesis; at the same time, dreaming and REM sleep are controlled by different brain mechanisms. Zhang hypothesizes that the function of sleep is to process, encode and transfer the data from the short-term memory to the long-term memory, though there is not much evidence backing up this so-called "consolidation."

Hobson and McCarley vs Freud

In 1976 J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley proposed a new theory that changed dream research, challenging the previously held Freudian view of dreams as subconscious wishes to be interpreted. Activation synthesis theory asserts that the sensory experiences are fabricated by the cortex as a means of interpreting chaotic signals from the pons. They propose that during REM sleep, the ascending cholinergic PGO (ponto-geniculo-occipital) waves stimulate higher midbrain and forebrain cortical structures, producing rapid eye movements. The activated forebrain then synthesizes the dream out of this internally generated information. They assume that the same structures that induce REM sleep also generate sensory information.


According to Sigmund Freud, dreams are more often forgotten entirely, perhaps due to their prohibited character. Altogether, these problems seemed to put them beyond the realm of science.

Neurobiology and dreams

In 1952, Eugene Aserinsky identified and defined rapid eye movement (REM) sleep while working in the surgery of his PhD advisor. Aserinsky noticed that the sleepers' eyes fluttered beneath their closed eyelids, later using a polygraph machine to record their brainwaves during these periods. In one session, he awakened a subject who was wailing and crying out during REM and confirmed his suspicion that dreaming was occurring. In 1953, Aserinsky and his advisor published the ground-breaking study in Science.
Accumulated observation has shown that dreams are strongly associated with Rapid Eye Movement during which an electroencephalogram (EEG) shows brain activity to be most like wakefulness. Participant-nonremembered dreams during NREM sleep are normally more mundane in comparison. During a typical lifespan, a person spends a total of about six years dreaming (which is about two hours each night). Most dreams only last 5 to 20 minutes. It is unknown where in the brain dreams originate, if there is a single origin for dreams or if multiple portions of the brain are involved, or what the purpose of dreaming is for the body or mind.

Cultural meanings of dreams

Throughout history, people have sought meaning in dreams or divination through dreams. Dreams have also been described physiologically as a response to neural processes during sleep; psychologically as reflections of the subconscious; and spiritually as messages from gods, the deceased, predictions of the future, or from the Soul. Many cultures practice dream incubation with the intention of cultivating dreams that are prophetic or contain messages from the divine.
Judaism has a traditional ceremony named Hatavat Halom. Literally meaning "making the dream a good one", through this rite disturbing dreams can be transformed to give a positive interpretation by a rabbi or a rabbinic court.
Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not yet understood, though they have been a topic of speculation and interest throughout recorded history. The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology.

My dreams

Hello everyone, as you know I am famous for different things. I played in a Disney movie with my brothers which was a tremendous success, I appeared in this movie as a lazy and narcoleptic person.
However, I am not lazy! But I have to admit that I always fall asleep and I do not have any control over it. While I am asleep, I live in another world, I live in my head, in my dreams. My subconscious is highly stimulated and my creativity over developed.
This phenomenon affects everybody, we dream every night but who knows exactly how it works?
I have created this blog in order to provide an explanation of this phenomenon.