Essay on The Dream State

1100 Words 5 Pages
The Dream State

Sigmund Freud noted as the Father of modern Psychology, believed that the function of dreaming was to allow the release of repressed instinctual impulses in a way that would preserve the ability to sleep, and that the instigating force causing dreams to occur was always a repressed thought or wish. Though Freud was an avid student of neurobiology, at the time when his suppositions were created scientists were unaware of certain aspects of the nervous system that today make Freudís theory unlikely (2). The stages of sleep, the biology of the brain, and the retention of dream memories all suggest an idea similar but contrary to Freudís theory. These factors lead one to believe that dreams are in fact not always
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The sleeper will experience REM for approximately a ten-minute period, and will continue to cycle through REM and non-REM sleep until woken up (5). Another important aspect in the explanation of dreaming is an understanding of the portions of the brain, which work together to create and terminate dreams and the dreaming state (i.e. REM sleep). A variety of nuclei and brain regions are involved in the initial production of the REM state, including the amygdala, hippocampus, right temporal lobe, and especially the brainstem nuclei located in the lateral and medial pons(1). REM sleep begins with signals from the base of the brain called the pons. The pons are associated with ritcular activity, and send signals to the region of the brain called the thalamus, which intern passes them along to the cerebral cortex for interpretation. While the pons are sending signal to the thalamus, they are also sending signals to the spinal chord, which shut off motor neurons making it impossible for the body to move during sleep and dreaming(3) . Similarly, cerebral blood flow increases in the right temporal and parietal regions during REM. These stages are followed by abnormal and enhanced activity in the right temporal and temporal-occippital area, which causes an increase in dreaming and REM sleep for an uncharacteristically long period of time. The brainstem is the most important actor in dream production, for it

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