coordination, since during non-REM sleep the eyes move independently of each other; (4) that it
provides a vigilance function, since REM sleep (stage I) is characterized by a level of
dreaming performs a neurological erasure function, eliminating extraneous information build-up in
enhances memory storage and reorganization.
Contrary to popular belief, dreaming is not caused by eating certain foods before
process. Some researchers have proposed the activation-synthesis hypothesis. Their
about every 90 minutes, sending random stimuli to cortical areas of the BRAIN. As a
consequence, memory, sensory, muscle-control, and cognitive areas of the brain are randomly
stimulated, resulting in the higher cortical brain attempting to make some sense of it. This,
have intentional, or actual personal, meaning. Many psychotherapists maintain that while the
neurological impulses from the brain stem may activate the dreaming process, the content or
meaningful representations in dreams are caused by nonconscious needs, wishes, desires, and
phenomenological-clinical, or "top-down," explanation, which holds that dreams are intentionally
meaningful messages from the unconscious. The neurological, or "bottom-up," explanation
maintains that dreams have no intentional meaning. In between these two positions is an
deep interpretation is attributed to the content. Differences in content have been discovered
between the dreams of males and females, and between dreams and occurring in different
Some recent research seems to indicate that dream content reflects problems that the
dreamer experiences in life, and that the function of such dreams is to facilitate the emotional
resolution of the problems. Numerous accounts exist of scientific problems being resolved, and
literary works being developed in dreams after dreamers had consciously immersed themselves in
a problem for an extended time.
of the developmental cognitive processes of children’s dreams, for instance, it has been found
Current and future research issues involve further establishing and extending all of the
important for understanding psychobiological abnormalities. Some findings indicate that epileptic
at any time, enter REM sleep almost immediately. Research continues on the variations in dream
large, only a small percentage of dreams are recalled.
Lucid dreaming, the ability of dreamers to become aware of and to control their dreams while
dreaming, is also the focus of some current research. Some lucid dreamers can learn to
communicate with researchers through nonverbal signals. New research also promises to yield
significant knowledge about memory, storage an retrieval, cognitive organization, psychobiological processes,
human consciousness, and specific operations of the mind.