What is Dreams: Definition and 84 Discussions

A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and function of dreams are not fully understood, although they have been a topic of scientific, philosophical and religious interest throughout recorded history. Dream interpretation is the attempt at drawing meaning from dreams and searching for an underlying message. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology.Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable. The length of a dream can vary; they may last for a few seconds, or approximately 20–30 minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase. The average person has three to five dreams per night, and some may have up to seven; however, most dreams are immediately or quickly forgotten. Dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full eight-hour night sleep, most dreams occur in the typical two hours of REM. Dreams related to waking-life experiences are associated with REM theta activity, which suggests that emotional memory processing takes place in REM sleep.Babies spend almost half of their sleep dreaming, while the elderly spend less than a fifth. Blind people dream in other senses, especially if they lost their sight before the age of seven. This has led some scientists to suggest that dreams are a defense mechanism by specific areas of a malleable brain from being appropriated for other purposes while it is deprived of sensory input as an animal sleeps.Opinions about the meaning of dreams have varied and shifted through time and culture. Many endorse the Freudian theory of dreams – that dreams reveal insight into hidden desires and emotions. Other prominent theories include those suggesting that dreams assist in memory formation, problem solving, or simply are a product of random brain activation.Sigmund Freud, who developed the psychological discipline of psychoanalysis, wrote extensively about dream theories and their interpretations in the early 1900s. He explained dreams as manifestations of one's deepest desires and anxieties, often relating to repressed childhood memories or obsessions. Furthermore, he believed that virtually every dream topic, regardless of its content, represented the release of sexual tension. In The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), Freud developed a psychological technique to interpret dreams and devised a series of guidelines to understand the symbols and motifs that appear in our dreams. In modern times, dreams have been seen as a connection to the unconscious mind. They range from normal and ordinary to overly surreal and bizarre. Dreams can have varying natures, such as being frightening, exciting, magical, melancholic, adventurous, or sexual. The events in dreams are generally outside the control of the dreamer, with the exception of lucid dreaming, where the dreamer is self-aware. Dreams can at times make a creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration.

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  1. S

    Share Exam Dreams & Teeth Loosening Nightmares Here!

    This led me to wonder how many people here have exam dreams, maybe even years or decades after they last had to sit an exam? Share your wierd or amusing exam dreams here! Apart from the actual exam itself, I often dream that I am enrolled for some course with an exam looming soon. My class...
  2. C

    So what are dreams made of? How do they differ from our waking reality?

    Summary:: What parts of the brain engage in sleep, and how does this differ to being awake? I had a dream last night that I met a gorilla in a bank foyer playing chess. Hey, it's a dream, right? But it was sufficiently bizarre that I realized there and then that it was a dream and my dream...
  3. Suppaman

    What I would like to discuss is, "who is the dreamer?"

    Consciousness. I do not see any specific places here dedicated to the mind so that I will ask my question here. As I sit here typing I am using my mind, and I can communicate by talking or writing, I am connected to the world. This morning I awoke from another dream. It was complicated, as real...
  4. bland

    Do We Dream? Understanding Vision in Waking & Dream States

    I was thinking recently that when we dream and it appears to us in the dream that we are looking at objects, I was wondering if this dream vision originates from the same source as normal vision. That is in the waking world when we talk about 'seeing', we mean that photons from the Sun other...
  5. P

    I want to be famous, someone wants it too?

    Have you got the same dream? I got this dream since I was I kid What is your plan of reaching fame, money and shine? How to start bulding fame and reputation? You tube?
  6. V

    Realistic math dreams for a nontraditional undergrad

    In what seems like another life I was a Theater Performance undergrad at a state university. I withdrew after 2 1/2 years in the program after I realized that I really didn't want to be an actor after all (turns out I kind of hate actors, go figure). Anyway, long story short, I am currently...
  7. brennabruce

    Brenna Bruce: Can I Become an Astrophysicist?

    Hello! My name is Brenna Bruce and I am 15 years old. This past year I have discovered my thirst for knowledge about the universe. How it works and what makes it work (to my understanding is explained by mostly physics) are concepts I want to be able to grasp. My question for anyone reading this...
  8. Sharadindu

    Schools Get Into Elite Colleges: Preparing for MIT with 3 Years Left

    Hi! I'm an Indian student from the CBSE curriculum in 10th standad (started a month ago). I want to do under-graduation in Astronomy / Computer Sciences / Robotics / Mechanical Engineering (still not decided yet. But it'd be much better if I can able to study all of them together :p) in any of...
  9. C

    Is it possible to scientifically discuss the dream world?

    Science, unless I'm mistaken, tells us that electrochemical exchanges within our neural networks are what dreams and thoughts are manifested from. Problem is, to say that dreams are a manifestation of specific phenomena is to utterly refuse to say what the dreams literally are. How can science...
  10. M

    Have You Experienced the Power of Lucid Dreams and Quantum Entanglement?

    Just wondering if anyone has had lucid dreams and the impact its had on the you way you look at life today? this seemed like the best place to post this subject ... :) iv recently just discovered all this quantum entanglement wizardry and I am not a physicist but after watching the two slit...
  11. Ahmad Kishki

    Engineer with dreams of physics

    i was pressured into engineering, and not allowed to pursue physics. I see that every year (or even semester) that passes by, i am missing out on my dream. I wish to be a physicist, and even if it will mean that i will have to study it all myself. I just want you to recommend some self study...
  12. S

    Are Goals to Become a STEM Professor Pipe Dreams?

    I really enjoy physics and chemistry and do OK in math (not stupendous, but OK at it and enjoy it) and have been pressured by my parents to choose a STEM major like computer science or engineering (the latter of which I have zero interest in). I'm a freshman right now and still have time...
  13. S

    Can I Still Pursue Quantum Physics After Low Marks in High School?

    well i always wanted to be a quantum physicist but right now i got very low marks in high school.will it affect my career.i plan to do computer science engineering.do i have the chances of becoming a quantum physicist?
  14. Monique

    Unusual dreams and the subconscious mind

    Last night I had a dream so vivid I can still remember every action and emotion, really unusual. It was about a major worldly crisis, I was in a large house and the outside had completely flooded with water filled with ice and people were dying in it. My boyfriend and parents were inside and we...
  15. Anna Blanksch

    Remembering Some Dreams and Not Others

    How come some mornings we wake up and don't remember our dreams but other mornings we remember multiple dreams? The past five days I have woken up and remembered my dreams and I'm wondering if I should get a dream catcher... :) Thanks for your help!
  16. lonewolf219

    MIT Dreams: What does it really take?

    What does it really take to get into grad school at MIT?? What GRE scores? Does a single publication make a difference? Two? Three publications? Summer REU programs? Letters of recommendation from an alum? Is there an oral entrance exam? On the realm of great, how great do you need to be...
  17. Andre

    Archeologists dreams, massive discoveries in Egypt

    Infrared satellite survey reveals 17 lost pyramids Work for years to come. Maybe we can change jobs.
  18. Hercuflea

    Is Med School worth it if your dreams lie elsewhere?

    Hey guys, I'm a math major. I plan to go to graduate school (hopefully PhD) in nuclear engineering and I have ~3.8 GPA. However, my parents have been pushing me to go to med school, and I'm not completely opposed to it, but I am truly interested in nuclear science and its applications to...
  19. Femme_physics

    Conflicted and confused which engineering profession best fit my dreams?

    I'm so confused lately :( I want to get into a field where we integrate chips with the brain, or try to make neurons interact with engineering devices. Problem is I don't know what field fits best. Which would you recommend me, based on experience? Medical engineering seems like the ideal...
  20. U

    I have dreams about being really smart

    Lately I've been watching the big bang theory and I've started having dreams of being really clever. The truth is I'm a university student studying computer science and I'm about average or slightly below average, it takes me a little longer than other to understand the subject we are learning...
  21. C

    Unlock Your Life's Potential: Exploring Dreams and Creativity

    What I want to know is: if you can sum up your life's ambition, your motivation of living, in a word or few words what would that be ? Some of "my" keywords: Creativity Potential Exploration Progress Freedom Sharing ... EDIT: Information Mathematics(language) Imagination Dreams...
  22. Pythagorean

    Functional Role of REM Sleep in Emotional Brain Processing

    user-friendly article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133346.htm peer-reviewed article: Els van der Helm, Justin Yao, Shubir Dutt, Vikram Rao, Jared M. Saletin, Matthew P. Walker. REM Sleep Depotentiates Amygdala Activity to Previous Emotional Experiences. Current...
  23. J

    Physics A-Level Student's Dream: Becoming a Physics Teacher

    Hi guys I'm a Singaporean currently studying in a Pre-U college for my 'A' Level certificate. All I can say is I have great dreams for physics, I don't strive to be the most reputable physicist of the century or what, all I want is to get a degree in physics and perhaps join the teaching field...
  24. E

    Finding the girl of your dreams

    i really don't know these how to find that special girl here's the thing last year i was in the faculty of engineering and i was so fat i needed 5 huge hamburgers as a snack and to make matters worse i failed for the first time in my entire life and i thought it was the end of the world you...
  25. P

    News IMF and land of dreams and nightmears

    US is what is making the world as it is now, no doubt in that, grateful and impressed is every one-including othor w"esterns- by the US civilization.Yet US is not the leader in good things only, bad things are also there. The IMF president ,the Ossange famous Wikileaks both share the same...
  26. rootX

    Did Your Past Dreams Predict Your Present Life?

    Did you dreamed of future (like place you want to live, work you want to do, partner you want to live with) 10,20,30,40,50, ... years ago and how close you got your near you dreams? I would need to work on finding if I ever dreamed something that I have now. So far, my life have been quite...
  27. T

    Conflicted Dreams: A Dental Student's Story

    So ever since I was a small child I wanted to be a dentist. Go to school for years on end, learning, then working, then teaching later on. However, I had a bit of a partying stage in my teen years where I didn't save a damned dollar for my self, and now that i have came back, and am done with...
  28. K

    Medical Do dreams have meanings? Are dreams visions for the future, a past

    Do dreams have meanings? Are dreams visions for the future, a past life? Or are they just images that our subconscious just makes up?
  29. P

    Medical What evidence supports the hypothesis that dreams are false memories?

    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...
  30. I_am_learning

    Lucid dreams are dreams in which you know you are dreaming. You then

    Lucid dreams are dreams in which you know you are dreaming. You then can modify the dreams to your own like. For example, in one of my dreams, I suddenly realized that I was dreaming. Then taking advantage of it I boasted to my friends --"Look guys, I will show you something amazing". Then I...
  31. rootX

    My Room: Comfort, Organization & Dreams

    How would describe your (bed)room? and What would be your dream room? Few interesting sample questions but do come up with your own: Do you come to room for sleep only or for comfort? Would you rather spend time outside e.g. library or in your room? Is your room clean and organized or you...
  32. Mueiz

    Physics of Dreams: Exploring Laws of Waking Reality

    Dreams are odd and striking phenomena ,similar to waking thought in some ways and dissimilar in others...Is there certain physical laws govern events that seen in dreams? what are the laws of (waking) physics that hold in Dreams too ?What are those not?
  33. L

    Dreams of the Milky Way: Exploring Galactic Processes

    I had just finished reading a space oddessey, and I had a dream in which there were about 10 people standing around me, each unique, one was a girl with purple highlights, and then in the middle of us (we were in a circle) was like a miniature milky way galaxy, and each of us described a process...
  34. P

    Why our brain doesn't let us see into future in dreams or waking state?

    Hi I have suffered from poor sleep due to anxiety and have had bad dreams. I began to research on sleeping problems and i came across a thread in a forum where someone wrote that altered mind states can occur as a result of anxiety stress and this let's the brain do things such as see or have...
  35. Tungamirai

    Medical Do Blind People See in Dreams and in Color?

    Do people who are born blind, see in their dreams. if they do do they see in color ?
  36. H

    Medical Relativity & Dreams: Exploring Brain Function During Sleep

    First of all, I thought that this post would be most nearly concerning neuroscience, but please correct me if I am wrong so it can be moved. Second, this is pure speculation without any facts to back it up, or appropriate knowledge of this field, so again, correct me if I am wrong. After...
  37. T

    Personal experiences with dreams

    Hi, I'm pretty sceptical. I won't believe an explanation for something until I have seen very compelling evidence. Even then I must take the stance that other explanations are at least possible. I admire the scientific method. I don't believe in ghosts, witches, wizards, magic, majik, telepathy...
  38. C

    Dreams of the Future: Deja Vu & Knowing What's Next

    this may sound wierd, but have these feelings of dejavu of everyday events, feeling like i have dreamt of them beforehand.lasting mostly for 30-45 seconds, i suddenly keep knowing what i had dreamt next and that thing happens. then the feeling subsides. funny thing is that i don't remember any...
  39. C

    Can a Minor in Physics Fuel My Quantum Gravity Dreams?

    I am in a very sticky situation with academia, at the moment, in order to graduate on time I might not be able to major in Physics. My options have dissipated to a few alternative options, so here we shall ponder on my desire to learn physics. I want to work on Quantum Gravity and Advanced...
  40. T

    Achieving Astrophysicist Dreams - A First-Gen College Student's Story

    Hi there, just need to give a little bit of my background before I get into my question. When I graduated high school I was confused about what to do so I decided to join the navy to figure out what I wanted to do and get college money. I enlisted to become a Missile technician on a nuclear...
  41. S

    Small Physicist Big Dreams: Navigating the Path to a Career in Physics

    Before I start, here's a summary of who I am. I'm a fourteen year old, living in Ireland, with a love of physics, maths and anything else of that nature. I dream of one day working for a big research company, and discovering amazing things that will shock the entire world. But, before I can do...
  42. R

    I'm already clueless about simple algebra word problems. Dreams = *POOF*

    I'll read the instructions, do the example problems, read over them, and then do the word problems: *Stare at book for 40 mins* *Blank face... hmm nothing comes up...* *day dream* *try to refocus, but no light bulbs at all* *Take a nap* Ughs, so much for that dream career. Grade 11...
  43. G

    Can You Control Dreams?

    I heard its possible to control your own dreams. Can you do it? Any tips on how to do it?
  44. lisab

    Dreaming of PF: Do Online Relationships Show Up in Your Dreams?

    Someone mentioned in a thread recently they they had a dream about something happening on PF. It got me wondering, is this common? Do you dream about PF? Do you dream about the relationships that you have online, the way you dream about person-to-person relationships? If so, what form...
  45. M

    What are dreams like for blind people?

    are they visual or auditory
  46. Schrodinger's Dog

    Dreams - disturbing or interesting

    In the past three days I have strangled my brother to death (he was being a right pain) Saved the world from annihilation with my super powers, and traveled to Liverpool (I can't remember why now, I remember I was staying there for a week for some reason) had a relationship which broke up after...
  47. F

    What would cause a person to stop dreaming or not remeber dreams?

    what would cause a person to stop dreaming or not remeber dreams? I haven't dreampt or remebered any dreams for years now.
  48. R

    Can you fully control your dreams?

    Online its a very big thing called Lucid Dreaming. I would be skeptical of a lot of the claims online, as its very hard to directly prove, but i can remember dreams that i have had before where i suddenly realized i was dreaming and was able to alter my dream accordingly (only for very short...
  49. L

    Medical Dreams about familiar places and random quotes

    I had a dream in a place that I was very familiar with, but knew didn't look the same. And I also said some random quotes that I know I would never think or say in real life. Any explanation as to why dreams go so random like this and distort places/thoughts?
  50. C

    Schools Are my Grad School dreams over?

    I need some advice. I graduated from a prestigious liberal arts college in May with a 3.0 GPA and a double major in Physics and Astronomy. I had always planned on going to graduate school, but for whatever reason did HORRIBLY on the Physics Subject GRE. Like worse than 15th percentile...