Why we dream, and what happens in our brain, no one knows for sure. In the scientific world, there are several theories about the nature of the occurrence of dreams, but none of them has any convincing evidence. So what do you believe?
In principle, all scientific theories come down to three main ones. First: dreams are fears and emotions repressed in childhood; second: night visions are the sorting by the brain of all the events that occurred during the day. And the third (the most modern): dreams are random brain impulses that are completely independent of external factors and stimuli.
History of the Science of Dreams
One of the first to put forward a scientific theory of dreams was Sigmund Freud. In the treatise "The Interpretation of Dreams" he said: dreams are hidden and repressed desires (often of a sexual nature). The brain performs the function of a censor and does not allow the splashing out of desires that the person himself considers immoral. But during sleep, the effect of censorship weakens, and seditious (that is, forced into the sphere of the unconscious) drives penetrate into consciousness, changing their appearance. These masked, encrypted unconscious images that appeared to consciousness in the form of symbols and metaphors are, according to Freud, our dreams. From here followed the main task - to unravel the disguised desires metaphorically expressed in dreams.
A student of Sigmund Freud, the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung went further in his conclusions. He did not agree with Freud that dreams are a cipher encoding forbidden impulses of sexual desire, but stated that the role of dreams is to relieve the emotional stress that a person has in real life, develop mental functions and expand the range of possibilities of consciousness and awareness. At the center of Jung's teaching is the idea of archetypes - models that govern the unconscious. The source of dreams, according to Jung, should be considered a person's life experience and "signals of a collective order": the experience accumulated by generations of ancestors and contemporaries living in the same environment. You can interpret these images, knowing the meanings that gave rise to them.
Garbage in, garbage out
In 1973, Harvard psychiatrists Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley conducted research and concluded that dreams are a series of electrical impulses inside the brain. Billions of nerve cells and neurons transmit electrical impulses to each other, which are transformed into random images during sleep.
Their hypothesis, which they called "activation and synthesis," is that during sleep, the brain "comprehends" and processes everything that it experienced and "saw" during the day. According to Hobson and McCarley, images are a "side effect" of brain activity. “Dreams are just a meaningless, random accompaniment to the autonomic electrical activity of the sleeping central nervous system,” the scientists said in a paper published in 1978 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The theory of "activation and synthesis" completely denies that dreams are of any value, or at least have even a minimal value. Using computer terminology, scientists call visual images "garbage in - garbage out". “Dreams are like a Rorschach inkblot. These are ambiguous phenomena that the therapist can interpret in any way. It's not about the meaning of dreams, but about the interpreter, ”said Hobson in an interview.
Such an interpretation of dreams caused great criticism, because the scientific world agreed on the inextricable connection between the states of sleep and wakefulness through thought. Besides, if the theory of Hobson and McCarley is correct, then dreams would have to change each other chaotically every minute, and everyone knows that sometimes dreams have a coherent plot, “constructed” very elegantly. This confirms the fact that more complex mechanisms are involved in the generation of dreams than just electrical impulses.
However, recently Hobson and McCarley's theory has received new confirmation. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that 80% of all dreams are a collection of completely random events, places and situations that have nothing to do with the sleeper. But people tend to regard dreams as a good or bad sign for the coming days. Scientists argue that the connection between a dream and the events of the coming days arises only in the mind of the person himself, and not in real life.
Dreams as exercises for the brain?
In an article published in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Allan Hobson wrote that the reason people forget most dreams is because the dream is just a warm-up for the brain. Just as the body needs exercise, the brain needs dreams to stay fit. The plot of sleep does not play a role, the main thing is the process of charging for the brain.
However, there is no clear answer. In the scientific world, there are disputes regarding the nature and role of dreams. Scientists have yet to explain the role dreams play in our lives. In the meantime, you can sacredly believe in all good, bright and sweet dreams, seeing them as a joyful omen, and not paying any attention to any nightmare - after all, these are just random electrical impulses of brain cells.
|WHAT HAPPENS DURING SLEEP|
To understand what happens in our brain at night, you need to decompose the process of sleep into 5 stages, which replace each other and repeat several times during the entire rest period.
1 The first stage is not yet a dream, but only a nap. We just closed our eyes and can easily return to the waking state.
2 The second phase is deep sleep, which is characterized by special brain waves lasting several seconds. The more these phases were during sleep, the more cheerful and better the person feels in the morning.
3-4 The third and fourth stages are the deep sleep phases. If you wake a person during such a period, he will be very distracted and disoriented.
5 The deeper we fall asleep, the slower our brain activity becomes. In the fifth stage, which occurs approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep, rapid eye movement (REM) begins. It is during this period that we dream. In addition, at this stage, the body produces hormones that practically paralyze the body. Scientists believe that this is the body's defense against the fact that we begin to repeat the movements made in a dream. But our heart rate rises, blood pressure rises, brain activity increases to the level of wakefulness.
Until recently, experts have inextricably linked dreams and the REM phase. But it turned out that these are two independent processes controlled by different brain systems. A similar conclusion was made after studying the brain waves of a 73-year-old patient who, as a result of a stroke, had damaged the area of u200bu200bthe brain that “generates” dreams. The researchers found that while all phases of sleep, including REM, the woman proceeded completely normally, but dreams did not occur.