Freud’s interpretation of why we dream may be wrong — here’s what’s really going on

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When we dream, parts of our brain associated with visual processing and emotion go wild, while parts associated with logic shut down.
Throughout history, people have come up with many interpretations for dreams, ranging from messages from the gods to revelations from our subconscious.
Recent research indicates dreams help us process emotions and solve problems.

Every night of our lives, we become “flagrantly psychotic,” according to sleep expert Matthew Walker.

Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he’s the director of the sleep and neuroimaging lab, and the author of the recent book “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.”

Dreams are those times during the night that we lose a grip on reality for reasons humanity has tried to understand for millennia. But these aren’t just hallucinatory episodes that explore the strangest corners and cobwebs of our minds. They serve a real function, according to Walker. Dreams help us process emotions and solve problems.

What are dreams

Walker’s declaration that we all become psychotic on a nightly basis might seem inflammatory.

But as he writes, when we dream we hallucinate, seeing and hearing things that aren’t there. We’re deluded into thinking these things are real at the time. We’re disoriented about time and place and even our own identity. We experience emotional swings for no apparent reason. And when we wake, for the most part, we experience amnesia and forget it all. We’d certainly call that behavior psychotic during the day.

That amnesia part is why many people don’t even realize that they dream. But we all do, every night. For the most part, what we call dreams occur during REM sleep.

For a time at least, neuroscientists thought it possible that dreams were simply phenomena that would arise because of what our brains were doing at that time of night. Now, we’re learning that even though REM sleep has functions, the dreams that happen during that sleep might may have separate functions as well.

As Walker wrote in his book, MRI research has shown that when people are in REM sleep, parts of the brain associated with visual perception, movement, memory, and emotion all become very active. At the same time, parts of our brain associated with logic and order become deactivated.

In other words, we know what’s going on in REM, thanks to brain scanning — emotion, visual imagery, memory are all kicked into full gear, …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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