During waking consciousness: signals from the pons bombard the cortex. Association areas of the cortex interpret those signals as seeing, hearing, etc.Those signals come from the real world and result in an experience of reality.During sleep: the signals from the brain stem are random and the brain must somehow interpret these random signals. It puts together an explanation of the cortex’s activation from memories and other stored information.In this theory, called activation-synthesis hypothesis, a dream is merely another kind of thinking that occurs during sleep. It is less realistic. It comes not from the world of reality but from within people’s memories and experiences of the past.The frontal lobes- normally used in daytime thinking, are shut down during dreaming. This may account for the unrealistic and bizarre nature of dreams.*There are experts who suggest that dreams have more meaning. A survey questioning subjects about their dream content concluded that much of the content of dreams is meaningful, consistent over time, and fits in withpast or present emotional concerns.
Hobson and colleagues have reworked the activation-synthesis hypothesis to reflect concerns about dream meaning calling it the activation-information-mode model or AIM. This newer version says that information that is accessed during waking hours can have an influence on the synthesis of dreams. It states that when the brain is “making up” a dream, it uses experiences from the previous day or last few days, instead of using “random” items from memory.What Do People Dream About?Calvin Hall collected over 10,000 dreams. Most reflect the events that occur in everyday life. Most people dream in color. People who grew up with black-and-white television sometimes have dreams in black and white.Dr. William Domhoff published his book “Finding Meaning in Dreams” (1966). Conclusions: across many cultures: men dream more about other males, women dream more about males and females equally. Men have more physical aggression in dreams. Women are more often victims in their own dreams. Girls and women dream more about people they know, personal appearance, issues related to family and home.
Boys and men dream more about male characters in their dreams which are usually in outdoor or unfamiliar settings and may involve weapons, tools, cars, and roads.