The Relation between Memory and Dreams
Upper Iowa University
Dreams have been a subject of study for a long time, dating back to before Freud’s popular theories and concepts of the subject. By studying how the human brain processes and retains memory can help researchers understand why dreams occur and why they may not. Although most research points to the fact that dreams and memory processing are related, this is not a theory or concept that is completely undisputed. Both real life experiences and lesser known research has proved that dreams are not always linked to the unconscious or the processing of memory. The focus of this paper is to determine whether an argumentative claim can be made against the popular theory that dreams are solely linked to one’s memory, as well as determining whether further research is needed to make this claim at all. Introduction
Studying the mechanism of dreams has always been a subtle task, as researchers cannot directly observe them and most of the dream’s contents are forgotten or distorted once the dreamer is awakened. However, when someone can tell what his/her dream was about, it is often constituted of memory fragments from what that person has seen before. That is, this paper will try to demonstrate the relation between dreams and memory; and show that dreams are not always made solely from recent or remote memories. Through different studies, researchers have tried to figure out if memories really play a role in dreams’ content during sleep. In a theory based from a variation of Freud’s dream theory, Tarnow (2003) proposes that “dreams are ever present excitational responses to perturbations of perceptions and thought, during waking life as well as sleep, which only become conscious when the executive function of waking life ceases.” Simply put, the unconscious part of our mind cannot be perceived or controlled; in this case, Tarnow tries to demonstrate that dreams are caused by an...
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