Role of Dream Essay

Submitted By Grace997
Words: 770
Pages: 4

The Role of Dream Robert Stickgold from Harvard Medical School once stated: “I don't know anybody who isn't fascinated by dreams. I mean they are outrageous events in our lives”(NOVA video). Yes, it is true that dreams have always been a widely discussed and researched topic. “They have been responsible for two Nobel prizes, the invention of a couple of major drugs, and innumerable novels, films and works of visual art”(NOVA video). Dreams could actually symbolize a lot of things, since they serve as a window into the unconscious. When we go to sleep every night, our brain is not merely “resting,” it processes and analyzes information we have learned during the day. Dreams then appear with the display of memories and open up the unconscious part of our brain. Therefore, sleeping is essential to help us learn and dreams act like a window into the unconscious. According to Robert Stickgold and Jeffrey M. Ellenbogen, while we are asleep our brain is busy processing information and selecting the most salient details. Over a night of sleep, our memories get refreshed and are resistant to interference in the coming day. In a research run by neuroscientists Matthew Wilson and Bruce McNaughton in 1994, rats appear to unconsciously rehearse a task that was done in the day later in their dreams. Although researchers don’t know what exactly the rats are dreaming, the neurons in their brain appear to be firing in the same order as when completing the task, which represents their “practices” of the task while unconscious. This example is very interesting and inspiring to the researcher. It helped with the discovery that unconscious rehearsing strengthens memory and helps animals as well as humans to learn better. For example students have reported dreams about doing math problems. When doing a lot of math during the day time, people get stressed out and gain a deep imprint in the subconscious. That is why, when entering REM sleep(Rapid Eye Movement sleep, a stage of time when most of the dreaming happens), people’s brains dissect the memory and run the most impressive scenario over again. Many people also reported solving a problem during sleep that they didn’t get to in the day time! It is evident that the function of sleep and the role of dreams are very important; as Robert Stickgold stated in the NOVA video, “it refines the memory, it improves the memory, it makes the memory more useful for the future.” Sigmund Freud, a scientist who had a profound influence in the twentieth century for his theories of personality, talked extensively about how the subconscious was revealed by dreams and how they shaped our personality. According to Freud, “adult personality and ongoing problems are formed primarily by experiences in early childhood”(Psychodynamic Theories of Personality). These experiences are left in people’s subconscious and the unconscious actually has more power over our personalities than our conscious intentions do. In Freud’s theory, personality consists of three major