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Dream Theory

Dreams are mental experiences that routinely occur during sleep, often including vivid visual imagery. Despite dreams being one of the most commonly shared aspects of human existence, they are a conscious phenomena that remain a mystery. While there are various theories proposed regarding the function of out dreams, they are largely based on conjecture more than research. This seemingly magical world of consciousness is what drew my interest to dreams and dreaming. Additionally, dreams are personal in that we most often dream about ourselves. The self-centeredness of dreaming also makes me believe that an understanding of the phenomenon is helpful for an individual to understand more about themselves.

Despite this interest and the routine nature of dreams, the theories of dreaming available to us remain largely untested. Cartwright (1978, 2) points out that while there are at least seven major theories on dreaming, “none of the theories has been tested adequately.” Only in recent history have dreams been subjected to empirical study. Dreams act as a bridge between our sleeping and our waking states. Freud viewed them as a means of wish fulfillment for ungratified needs while awake, while other theorists like Rosalind Cartwright (Webb and Cartwright, 1978, 224) see them as a means of “working through the major problems in our lives.” Certain themes while dreaming appear to be more common than others, such as falling and being pursued, while individual differences also seem to emerge while dreaming. Webb, Sebba, and Domino (1989-90, 3) argue that “creative people have more bizarre dreams” than non-creative types.

Perhaps the greatest impetus for my interest in dreams and dreaming is the controversy over the different theories proffered to explain the phenomenon. Blagrove (1996, 1) suggests that the physiological focus on dreaming has de-emphasized introspection and self-reporting, a general trend since the...

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Dream Theory. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:52, May 24, 2020, from