Psychology Dreams Essay

1990 words - 8 pages

Dreaming Dreaming is a form of mental activity that occurs during sleep. The nature of dream activities has been characterized by many clinical and laboratory studies. These studies are more perceptual than conceptual: things are seen and heard rather than being subject to thought. Visual perception is present in almost all dreams, and auditory experience is 40 to 50%, but dreams are not necessarily visual imagery. Congenitally blind people dream in auditory and sensory-motor modes. One difference between waking and dreaming consciousness is that the latter tends to be an internal hallucinatory-like experience disconnected from the external world.. The senses of touch, taste, smell, and pain are not commonly experienced. Emotions are felt, but usually a single, powerful emotion is felt such as fear, anger, or joy, for example. Most dream content consists of memories, and are in the form of interrupted stories with frequent shifts of scene. One difference between waking and dreaming consciousness is that the latter tends to be an internal hallucinatory-like experience disconnected from the external world.Many dreams collected in laboratories are rather common, but some people tend to experience some bizarre dreams. Early in the 20th century, Sigmund Freud believed that dream content was composed of the mental processes different from that used in the awake state. He believed this was what dominated the dreaming mind. He described this "process" as characterized by more primitive mechanisms, by rapid shifts in energy and emotion, and by a great deal of sexual and aggressive content derived from childhood. (Hartmann, E. 1997) There are 4 stages of sleep. The individual goes from awake to stage 1, then to 2, 3, and finally 4, the deepest stage of sleep. After spending about 20 minutes in stage 4, they return to stage 1 and progress back to stage 4. The individual will continue to make these cycles throughout their sleep. Most individuals will experience about 4 to 5 cycles a night (Engle, 1984) (Snellgrove, 1984) American sleep researchers Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman proved through studies that dreams do not consist of fleeting imagery that occurs while a person awakens from sleep, as it was believed , but instead takes place during a biological state of its own. They stated that there are two clearly distinguishable state of sleep. The first state, called NREM-sleep (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) occurs in most of the slept period, and is associated with a usual low pulse blood pressure, little activation of the autonomic nervous system, and little to no reports of dreaming. The second type of sleep, called REM-sleep (Rapid Eye Movement sleep) during the sleep period in cycles and is characterized by the activation of the autonomic nervous system, rapid eye movement (usually side from to side), and dream "visits." It is also characterized by increased heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, muscle twitches, oxygen consumption, and gastric...

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