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Lecture 10 _Dreaming_

Lecture 10 _Dreaming_ - Psych 2 Psych 2 Principles of...

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Unformatted text preview: 2/12/07 Psych 2 Psych 2 Principles of Psychology Christopher Gade Office: 5315 Tolman Hall Office hours: MW 2:00­3:00 Email: [email protected] Lectures: MWF 3:00­4:00, 100 GPB Today we’re going to discuss... Today we’re going to discuss... • Dreams! What can we discuss about dreams? What can we discuss about dreams? • The meaning of dreams – Historical theories – Current theories – Relatively recent theories • The purpose of dreaming (from a more modern perspective) • The content of dreams (read about this one in your text) What Do Dreams Mean? What Do Dreams Mean? • Cultures throughout history have found dreams to be important. • Most historical group believed that dreams were not only entertaining but that they also held some meaning. • We’re going to look at the history of a few of Ancient Mesopotamia Ancient Mesopotamia • One of the first “cultures” on earth. • Strongly believed that our dreams had meaning. • They thought that dreams could take on one of three forms. – A message dream – a message sent from a deity to a ruler through a dream in an attempt to change/influence that ruler’s behavior – A mantic dream – a message sent to an individual that allowed the individual to see event that were to come. – A symbolic dream – involved an interaction between people, gods, stars, and/or animals. These dreams were • Viewed dreams as a message from a pantheon of gods. • Gods were more likely to appear in the dreams of royalty. Egyptian Egyptian s • Serapis was the Egyptian god of dreams, and several temples were devoted to him. • Oracles (or professional dream interpreters) resided in those temples. have specific types, vivid, positive, and communicative dreams. • The Egyptians had many rituals and practices in their attempts to • Sleep was seen as an opportunity for the spiritual soul (hun) to leave our material soul (p’o). and went to the land of the dead. Chinese Chinese • They believed that during sleep our “hun” left our body • This belief is still held to a small extent today. – Alarm clock example • The Chinese also had a ancient almanac of life, the T’ung Shu, which had a portion of it dedicated to a discussion of the meaning of dream content. From this content, it was believed that we could learn about – Future events • Dreams were a major component found in Greek mythology and literature. – The Iliad and the Odyssey – Oedipus Greeks Greeks • Greeks believed that we “saw” dreams. (no interactions in dreams, just sitting there and perceiving messages) • Dream incubation, though common in the Chinese and Egyptian cultures, was an art that reached its pinnacle at Greeks (cont.) Greeks (cont.) • These dream incubations allowed the dreamers to receive messages from the god of dreams Aesculapious. – Medicines – Courses of action – Note: these dreams presented by Aesculapious were eventually handled by translators as the dream incubation method progressed in this culture. Early Christian Views Early Christian Views • Dreams were seen as a way of connecting with god. • We could not only learn from our dreams, but become better people through dreaming. • Dreams had specific meanings, and were designed by a God as a easy way to communicate with us. • Dreams could produce both religious epiphanies and war/battle strategy breakthroughs. The Dark Ages The Dark Ages • Dreams were viewed as a tool of the devil. A dream was seen as a temporary demonic possession of the body. • Vivid and extremely “unnatural” dreams were perceived as indicative of an individual’s tie with evil. • To counteract this problem, the church labeled dreams as the work of the devil, and punished • “Dreams are a window to our unconscious thoughts, motivations, and desires.” needed to be broken down into two distinct types of content. Freud Freud • Freud believed that dreams – Manifest content – the information in our dreams that appear on the surface (e.g. the story, the people, and the places in our dreams) – Latent content – the hidden themes and symbols (which tell us about the unconscious thoughts, motivations, and Freud (cont.) Freud (cont.) • Freud also argued that some manifest content in our dreams actually had no latent content in it. – “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” • What is the significance of this statement? Carl Jung Carl Jung • Described as Freud’s opposing theorist in dream interpretation. • Saw the soul as something that could achieve greatness, and saw dreams as both a chance to balance the self, and to gain insight into how to achieve that greatness. negative aspects described by Freud, but also positive aspects that were “too good” for us to handle in our everyday interactions and life. ourselves in our many different life situations, and he • Argued that our unconscious not only contains the • Jung also saw us as possessing different archetypes of • The three major archetypes proposed by Jung were… – The persona: our “mask” or the person that we presented to the world. – The Shadow: a archetype that was not clearly defined. This is considered the part of the person that he/she is unaware of. Similar to Freud’s definition of the unconscious, but there’s more to it. – The animus/anima: the imprint of our ancestral fore­ fathers/mothers. This is what teaches us about and connects us with (unconsciously) our traditions and Jung (cont.) Jung (cont.) Cognitive Theory (Activation Synthesis Theory) Cognitive Theory (Activation Synthesis Theory) • The prominent theory in our day about what is going on during our dreams. • While we sleep, our brain is producing large numbers of random neural firings. make sense of this information. • Our primary cortex (frontal lobe) attempts to • We create a vivid and relevant story from this. – Dreams appears meaningful because the majority of our neural links are from our prevalent thoughts and common experiences. Thus, we’re more likely to have The Purpose of Dreaming The Purpose of Dreaming • What can our dreaming actually do? – Allow us to generate insights into problems that we are faced with – Restore/retrace/establish neural connections – Act out fantasies/obstacles in a safe manner What insights can our dreams reveal to us? What insights can our dreams reveal to us? • Elias Howe – Dreamt that he was about to be eaten by cannibals – Was taken back by the spears that the cannibals held, which had a hole at the tip – Used this design to invent the needle • Dmitri Mendeleyev (1869) – Elemental table was thought up through a dream • Dreams might actually be used as a tool to help us solve problems that we are faced with every day. – Question: How many of you have experienced a math problem, visual­spatial task, or major life question that was impossible to achieve the day it was presented to you, but it became easy when you attempted to overcome the obstacle the next day? What does this tell us? What does this tell us? • But is this just the result of an illusionary correlation? – Question: How many of you have experienced a math problem, visual­spatial task, or major life question that • Side note: – It is important to note that the problems solved in these examples were problems that the figures had already been struggling with. These were not merely moments of random insight about unknown topics. • What can that tell us? – Maybe our brains are just working through the stuff that we already know a lot about Restore/Retrace/Establish Neural Restore/Retrace/Establish Neural Connection Theory activated at some point in time. • During sleep, almost every part of our brain is • Studies have shown that specific brain areas in – Ferret maze example revisited animals that have been overly active during the day, display higher activity during dreaming. • Research has also shown that response time at newly learned tasks, as well as processing Problems with the Problems with the Restore/Retrace/Establish Neural Connection Theory • We don’t have sophisticated enough tools, and we don’t know enough about the brain to determine with certainty if the firing of neurons during sleep are random, or if they are truly restoring, retracing, and establishing new neural connections. doesn’t have a direct impact on REM sleep. In fact, the percentage of REM sleep we get only increases when we get an abundant amount of • Studies have shown that our lack of sleep One final possibility... One final possibility... • Dreams might actually just be something that developed through evolution as a result of our need to move our eyes at some point in time during the night. – Computer example (from the text) So what have we learned? So what have we learned? • We now know about how prevalent certain objects and themes are in our dreams. • We know about the different ideas that societies and individuals have designed in an attempt to understand the meaning of dreams. • We reviewed a few, slightly more “scientific”, theories about the physical purpose of dreaming. And then… And then… • Next lecture we’re going to address other forms of consciousness. • So until then, keep studying… ...
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