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Psychology 2011A/B
Imants Baruss

Alter States of Consciousness: Dreams • Formally, the study of dreams is known as oneirology and divided into: - Dream analysis: concerned with the manner in which social psychological realities such as cultural values are reflected in dreams - Dream interpretation: concerned with the potential meanings of dreams Dream Theories Physiological Theories • Example/ in classical Greece, people would go to the “temples sacred to Asklepios, Greek god of healing”, undergo a ritual, and drink a sleep potion with the idea that Asklepios would appear in their dreams with messages of healing • Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis – ALLAN HOBSON and ROBERT MCCARLEY - Two components 1. Sleep activation: the result of the activity of brainstem mechanisms during REM sleep, where the brain becomes activated, sensory impressions are reduced, and motor movements inhibited 2. Synthesis: injects meanings into random signals by constructing dreams from images retrieved from memory - Dreams have 5 characteristics: 1. intense emotion 2. illogical content 3. apparent sensory impressions 4. uncritical acceptance of dream events 5. difficulty remembering them - In other words, while dreaming we are “formally delirious and demented”  Studying dreams, then, is the study of mental illness - Views dreams as meaningless - Problems with theory include; ability to dream during other stages of sleep (not just REM) • Chaos Theory - The brain is a self-organizing and self-creative system that is critically poised to response to small perturbations - Stochastic resonance: a condition in which excitation keeps the system in motion so that it can effectively follow inherently natural patterns of activity without getting stuck  During REM sleep, the brain is not constrained by sensory input, so the stochastic resonance revels the natural contours of cortical activity which are shaped by emotional and cognitive influences present at each moment  Like sand sprinkled on a drum, settling into a configuration revealing the contours of the drum when the drum is repeatedly tapped  Abrupt alterations in dream experiences might result from shifts in the patterns of activity - Rather than just revealing the activity of its own contours, perhaps the brain is prompted by something else that shapes dreams into meaningful events  Like a symphony orchestra, members warm up and practice, resulting in a cacophony of sound, and once the conductor comes out the musicians follow a score that is musically meaningful  Physiological theories – while awake, the orchestra plays whatever music it is handed, but while asleep, it is forever warming up Cognitive Theories • DAVID FOULKES - Dreaming is to be understood as thinking, hence is not to be related to what happens during waking - Memory is activated while asleep, however during dreaming memory is diffuse, as shown by weak relationships between dream images and odd connections of knowledge in dream imagery - Activated memories call up the interpretative machinery of the dream-production system – a non-consciousness process that works by using the memory of the actual characteristics of life experiences - According the Foulkes, there is no meaningful plan underlying the construction of particular dream imagery or its narrative sequence  Thus, dreams are meaningless  They could incidentally reveal something of the character of the person • Cognitive-Experiential Theory – CLARA HILL - Dreams are meaningful - During REM sleep there is a non-conscious effort of the dreamer to incorporate waking events into the cognitive framework used for making sense of reality that is already stored in memory.  Done by weaving together waking life events with those stored in memory - Problems occur when there are waking events (such as traumatic events), for which the existing cognitive framework is inadequate, thereby giving recurrent dreams of nightmares - Dreams can be interpreted by finding meanings for the dream events that make sense to the dreamer Psychoanalytic Theory • Freud publication The Interpretation of Dreams (1900/1950) • For Freud, dreams are wish-fulfillment, even when they do not appear to be • Manifest content – the apparent content of the dream • Latent content – what a dream is really about - For Freud, dreams are really about our repressed wishes that are infantile in origin and sexual in nature • The censor – a part of the psyche that repressed disturbed feelings from entering dreams - The forbidden content then disguises itself through a process called the “dream work”, and sneaks by the censor and appear in symbolic form as manifest content • Dream interpretation involves identify manifest content and translating it to latent content, thus finding repressed infantile wishes • Came up with the theory because he himself had a dream with wish fulfillment • Freud’s theory was impervious to change cause he would invalidate any challenges Jungian Theory • CARL JUNG - Swiss psychiatrist who maintained a 6 year relationship with Freud until Jung went his own way • Used his dreams to contribute to his understanding of dreams - In one dream, he was in a mountainous region of the Swiss-Austrian border at night - an elderly man in the uniform of an Imperial Austrian custom official walked by - someone in the dream said it was a ghost - Jung then found himself in a city, midday, bathed in sunlight - Among the crowd of people heading home for dinner there walked a knight in full armor wearing a white tunic with a large red cross woven in it - Jung asked himself in the dream the meaning of this and was told that the knight always passes by here between 12 and 1 o’clock and has so for years, everyone knows about it • Four part structure to average dreams 1. Exposition – sets the place, introduces characters, and sometimes states time 2. Development – of the plot in which the situation is somehow becoming complicated, and definite tensions develop because no one knows what will happen 3. Culmination – something decisive happens or something changes completely 4. Solution or Result – produced by the “dream work”, a final situation and the solutions sought by the dreamer • In Jung’s dream, the midday state of affairs is the exposition, the crowd heading home for dinner is the development, the presence of the night is the culmination, and the states meaning is the solution • In Jungian dream interpretation, dreams are symbolic - Meaningful images compounded of the unconsciousness and conscious that are best possible formulations of relatively unknown facts - Dream interpretations depends on the ability to find meaningful parallel ideas to the symbols found in dreams  In Jung’s dream, the dead custom officer was Freud • For Jung, dreams arise from the unconscious to compensate the conscious attitude of a person for the sake of providing balance to the personality  Jung’s dream’s message was to correct his admiration of Freud and go on like a knight, supported by his own inner light • While working at a hospital, Jung noticed similarities between the delusions and hallucinations of schizophrenic patients to one another and to the myths and fairy tales derived from people - Collective unconscious – universal substratum of the mind underlying human experience and behaviour - Archetypes – the essential psychic characteristics of the collective unconscious that distinguish human beings  Give rise to similar thoughts, images, and feeling in ALL people  Manifestations of archetypes include the variation on the relationship between male and female, the conflict between good and evil, the course of the human life cycle, and the ordeals encountered in life.  E.g. life tribulations represented by a maze or a labyrinth  Archetypes surface as symbols in cultural shaped forms in myths, legends, and faiyr tales as well as in dreams  In Jung’s dream, the Christian knight was an archetypal figure of the warrior following a destiny he has no choice but to fulfil, just as Jung felt compelled to pursue his ideas about the human psyche Dream Content Stimulus Incorporation in Dreams • Study, 112 REM-sleep dreams obtained from 20 participants, found that 52% of those dreams had at least some incorporation of the laboratory situation in them - Most frequently the experiment situation showed up in individual dream scenes, next came dreams which used the dream experiment as major theme th - About every 10 dream contained only isolated elements of the experiment - One dreamer dreamt about being in the sleep lab, was unable to fall asleep, went sledding outside with her boyfriend and intended on coming back on time to be awakened but a small motorbike appeared and she got lost and it got too late • Deliberate efforts to introduce stimuli into dreams in many cases have been less successful than natural incorporation of activities in the sleep lab itself • Incorporations of stimuli in dreams, when they can be identified, are usually indirect - E.g. found that the indirect incorporations based on nouns spoken during REM sleep can include..  Incorporations based on associate meanings  Similarity of sound (such as “Gillian” transformed to “Chilean” in a dream) • Dream lag effect – 47% of waking incorporations identified by a group of subjects came from preceding day, 19% from the preceding week, and remaining 33% from earlier experiences • dreams from NREM sleep contain more day residue than dream from REM sleep • as REM sleep increase throughout the night, dreams refer to events further in the past of the dreamers life • One third to one half of individuals who have experienced traumatic events end up with posttraumatic stress disorder - One of the most common symptoms is nightmares and recurrent dreams  At first, the dreams are re-enactments of the events. Eventually trauma is portrayed more symbolically and interwoven with dreamers daily life concerns  One study of women who were had been in hospital for child abuse, significant amount
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