Are dreams experiences?


by Perfection
Tags: dreams, experiences
Perfection
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#1
Apr14-11, 07:55 PM
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In the 1970s Daniel C. Dennett, Smart Dude, provided an interesting alternative hypothesis to the one that dreams are real experiences of some "false" reality that we have when we sleep. His alternative was that dreams are in fact false memories of experiences we did not actually have while sleeping.

How crazy an idea is this? Can you demonstrate it wrong? Has there been any interesting follow up stuff on it?


Daniel C. Dennett, Smart Dude's, paper (only first page, sadly):
http://www.jstor.org/pss/2183728
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omerusta
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#2
Apr24-11, 12:48 PM
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Quote Quote by Perfection View Post
In the 1970s Daniel C. Dennett, Smart Dude, provided an interesting alternative hypothesis to the one that dreams are real experiences of some "false" reality that we have when we sleep. His alternative was that dreams are in fact false memories of experiences we did not actually have while sleeping.

How crazy an idea is this? Can you demonstrate it wrong? Has there been any interesting follow up stuff on it?


Daniel C. Dennett, Smart Dude's, paper (only first page, sadly):
http://www.jstor.org/pss/2183728
This is not a crazy idea at all....
Every organ in our body should constantly work. They have no other choice. They cannot stop working. If they are forced to stop working, they die. While kidneys produce urine, brain produces ideas. We sleep or not, brain always thinks. Dreams are such experiences. Realities may be false but dreams are real experiences.
DaveC426913
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#3
Apr24-11, 12:58 PM
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Quote Quote by Perfection View Post
... dreams are in fact false memories of experiences we did not actually have while sleeping.
I cannot parse this sentence.

False memories of experiences we did not have? Then what are they?

disregardthat
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#4
Apr24-11, 01:02 PM
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Are dreams experiences?


Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
False memories of experiences we did not have? Then what are they?
A false memory is a memory of something that does not match what one actually experienced. His sentence is perfectly senseful.
DaveC426913
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#5
Apr24-11, 01:04 PM
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Quote Quote by Jarle View Post
A false memory is a memory of something that does not match what actually happened. His sentence is perfectly senseful.
Except that it is of something that didn't happen, so how can it not match something that didn't happen?
omerusta
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#6
Apr24-11, 02:21 PM
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False memory is a memory of some events that did not take place.
DaveC426913
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#7
Apr24-11, 02:39 PM
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Quote Quote by omerusta View Post
False memory is a memory of some events that did not take place.
So, a false memory of 'an experience we did not have' that we did not have.

I'm not trying to be obtuse, I'm trying to figure out what value this hypothesis adds to the idea of imagination while we sleep.

If we didn't have the experiences, and when we wake we can tell the difference between a memory and a dream (so it's not like we confuse the two), then what really does it mean to say we have false memories of experiences we didn't have?
omerusta
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#8
Apr24-11, 06:11 PM
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You are right but those are semantics.
Important thing here is that brain thinks in sleep.
We call them dreams.
Brain must do that.
During sleep kidneys still produce urine. But brain cannot think logical sequence of events. It functions as having dreams.
JaredJames
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#9
Apr24-11, 06:28 PM
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When you have a memory of a dream, the events themselves may not have happened but the dream did. The memories aren't false, they are simply memories of dreams (you remember the dream of the events, not the events themselves). It's an important distinction. The dreams are real, the events are not. You remember the dreams - those are not false memories.

This means we can differentiate between 'things in dreams' and 'things in reality'.

I really don't understand the premise that is trying to be brought across here. It just doesn't make sense.
DaveC426913
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#10
Apr24-11, 08:54 PM
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Quote Quote by omerusta View Post
You are right but those are semantics.
Important thing here is that brain thinks in sleep.
We call them dreams.
Brain must do that.
During sleep kidneys still produce urine. But brain cannot think logical sequence of events. It functions as having dreams.
Agreed, but this is not the premise of the OP.
Perfection
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#11
Apr25-11, 08:47 AM
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Quote Quote by JaredJames View Post
When you have a memory of a dream, the events themselves may not have happened but the dream did. The memories aren't false, they are simply memories of dreams (you remember the dream of the events, not the events themselves). It's an important distinction. The dreams are real, the events are not. You remember the dreams - those are not false memories.

This means we can differentiate between 'things in dreams' and 'things in reality'.

I really don't understand the premise that is trying to be brought across here. It just doesn't make sense.
Well, the idea here is to take the falseness up a level. Normally we think that when we wake up we have real memories of dreams, dreams being real experiences of false events when we sleep.

Dennet's alternative is that the memories themselves are false, and that we do not actually dream, only that when we wake up we have false memories of experiences we did not have.
JaredJames
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#12
Apr25-11, 10:06 AM
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Quote Quote by Perfection View Post
Dennet's alternative is that the memories themselves are false, and that we do not actually dream, only that when we wake up we have false memories of experiences we did not have.
Now wasn't that a lot easier to say.

So where would they come from? Your brain just spontaneously creates them on waking up?

They have imaged the brain and shown when the different stages of sleep occur and what they look like. They have also shown that you only dream during a certain stage (REM sleep I believe).

Current research shows the heightened activity state during the REM phase, indicating dreams are taking place.

There is nothing to support this idea of yours (or who ever is being discussed). For it to be true, it would have to invalidate current observations.
Ryan_m_b
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#13
Apr25-11, 10:18 AM
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Quote Quote by Perfection View Post
Well, the idea here is to take the falseness up a level. Normally we think that when we wake up we have real memories of dreams, dreams being real experiences of false events when we sleep.

Dennet's alternative is that the memories themselves are false, and that we do not actually dream, only that when we wake up we have false memories of experiences we did not have.
I suffer from prolific nightmares, it's better now but a few years ago it was intolerable. My partner would tell me that in my sleep I would moan, cry out, fidget, kick, thrash around and generally act like one would expect of someone asleep whilst having a nightmare. I fail to see how Dennet's proposal could be reconciled with this behaviour, I acted as though I was experiencing in real-time. If I had created the whole memory of having a nightmare upon the instant of waking I would have slept soundly. In addition, my nightmares frequently wake me up but how could this be so if they are instantly laid down "false" memories?
JaredJames
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#14
Apr25-11, 10:30 AM
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Quote Quote by ryan_m_b View Post
I suffer from prolific nightmares, it's better now but a few years ago it was intolerable. My partner would tell me that in my sleep I would moan, cry out, fidget, kick, thrash around and generally act like one would expect of someone asleep whilst having a nightmare. I fail to see how Dennet's proposal could be reconciled with this behaviour, I acted as though I was experiencing in real-time. If I had created the whole memory of having a nightmare upon the instant of waking I would have slept soundly. In addition, my nightmares frequently wake me up but how could this be so if they are instantly laid down "false" memories?
Very good point (somewhat gutted I missed it myself ).

There are people whose bodies don't paralyze them when they sleep so they act out the dreams. As ryan said, how would his theory explain that?

Also, I sleep talk and get a bit concerned when people ask me what I was talking about and it's like they were in my dream listening to the conversation. If I wasn't dreaming, how would this occur?
SW VandeCarr
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#15
Apr25-11, 12:19 PM
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Quote Quote by Perfection View Post
Dennet's alternative is that the memories themselves are false, and that we do not actually dream, only that when we wake up we have false memories of experiences we did not have.
I haven't read Dennet, but IF he said that, I'm not missing anything. I've read John Searle, a serious philosopher of the mind who does his homework. There is ample evidence that lucid dreaming occurs during sleep.

http://tcts.fpms.ac.be/biomed/privat...takeushi03.pdf
Pythagorean
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Apr25-11, 03:01 PM
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Quote Quote by JaredJames View Post
Now wasn't that a lot easier to say.

So where would they come from? Your brain just spontaneously creates them on waking up?

They have imaged the brain and shown when the different stages of sleep occur and what they look like. They have also shown that you only dream during a certain stage (REM sleep I believe).

Current research shows the heightened activity state during the REM phase, indicating dreams are taking place.

There is nothing to support this idea of yours (or who ever is being discussed). For it to be true, it would have to invalidate current observations.
The idea is that the plasticity events still take place during REM but we don't experience them until the thalamus "flips our consciousness on" and suddenly were connected to a different background brain than we fell asleep with.

I think Dennet is saying the only time we actually "experience" our dreams is after the rewiring has already taken place and we "wake up" to new wiring.
Ryan_m_b
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Apr25-11, 03:09 PM
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Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
The idea is that the plasticity events still take place during REM but we don't experience them until the thalamus "flips our consciousness on" and suddenly were connected to a different background brain than we fell asleep with.

I think Dennet is saying the only time we actually "experience" our dreams is after the rewiring has already taken place and we "wake up" to new wiring.
But then what is experiencing the dream? Something must be (As mentioned above; people move, talk, walk etc).
Ryan_m_b
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#18
Apr25-11, 03:09 PM
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Quote Quote by JaredJames View Post
Very good point (somewhat gutted I missed it myself ).
Thankyou


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