Dreams And Their Hidden Psychological Meaning (Freud’s Perspective)

What if I told you that you flying in your dreams could represent sexual intercourse? yah, that’s hilarious, but Sigmund Freud  was not kidding.

If you are like most people, you probably wonder what your dreams actually mean. The idea that our dreams contain a psychological meaning was first proposed by Sigmund Freud. Freud interpreted his patient’s dreams to understand their unconscious conflict and desires. However, dream interpretations are not very accurate and that’s because every therapist will give you a different meaning to your dream. But then there are other psychologists who say dreams have no significance at all. It’s truly a never-ending debate.

Meaning Of Dream Content

Freud said that ” Dreams are a window to our unconsciousness”. However our dreams have images which are absurd or silly that have no meaning at all. Nonetheless Freud argued that these images are symbols that have a hidden meaning. For example, people and objects in your dreams represent sexual symbols. Guns and tanks in your dreams could symbolize the male genitalia and caves could symbolize wombs.

But how do innocent objects represent something sexual?

Well, according to some psychoanalytic researchers, people who are anxious about sexual matters cannot express their sexual desires directly and hence these individuals express it using sexual symbols in their dreams.

Psychoanalyst today argue that dreams are our unresolved conflicts that surface during sleeping hours. One team of researchers found that people with a high need to take care of others often had dreams in which they experienced intimacy with another person.

What about recurrent dreams? the dreams that we believe we have seen before.  These dreams reappear because the conflict in that dream is important yet not resolved. This explains why many people who experience recurrent dreams are likely to suffer from anxiety. The unconsciousness conflict surfaces in dreams at night, but is expressed as anxiety during the day.

So How Do We Dream?

Biologically speaking, our dreams don’t make sense because our prefrontal cortex is inhibited during sleep. Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for logic and decision making and inhibition of the prefrontal cortex explains why I am being chased by giant spiders in my dreams.

There are two hypotheses that explain dreaming.

Activation Synthesis Hypothesis. 

This hypothesis says that dreams are basically the brain’s effort to make sense of distorted information. Dreams begin with periodic bursts of spontaneous activity in the pons. Pons is a region in the brain, which is associated with stimulation of sleep and arousal. Pons activates PGO waves which activates some parts of the cortex but not all. The cortex then combines this random input with any other activity that was already occurring  and does its best to form a story that makes sense.

The Clinico-Anatomical Hypothesis 

This theory is similar to the Activation Synthesis Hypothesis, but puts less emphasis on PGO waves. This theory says that dreams are thinking that takes place under unusual conditions. One condition is that the brain is getting very little information from sense organs and the primary and visual cortex has lower than usual activity and therefore other brain regions are free to generate any information without any boundaries.

 

 

 

References

http://memolition.com/2017/03/02/what-are-dreams/ (Featured image)

BURGER, J. (2018). PERSONALITY. [S.l.]: CENGAGE LEARNING ( Click the link  to buy the book)

Kalat, J. Biological psychology. ( click the link to buy the book)

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/R39Q-81LB-V22A-5VJ8

 

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