Patrick McNamara. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and several books on the science of sleep and dreams, and on the psychology and neurology of religion. He is also a founding director of the Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion. Brought to you by Curio , an Aeon partner. Edited by Pam Weintraub. When you looked at it closely, the portrait seemed to writhe and come alive. In the drug-fuelled style of those decades of ongoing sexual revolution, the artist had depicted the nose as an erect penis, the cheeks as a female behind, and the eyes as female breasts.
One side of the face was a voluptuous female whose legs wrapped around the body of a muscular male on the other side of the face and, of course, both heads were thrown back in dramatised ecstasy. Right from the start, I saw Freud as a kind of secular saint because he was willing to take an unbiased look at himself through the raw material of his dreams.
If he found in those dreams a mass of broiling sexual impulses, so be it. Those impulses had to be accepted, understood and explained within a larger picture of the human mind. Irma looked pale and puffy. When Freud looked down her throat, he found a big patch of white. And he knew the origin of the infection: not long before, his friend Otto had given her an injection of trimethylamine. But how was it a sexual wish?
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Freud noted that while the party was apparently a birthday celebration for his wife, his attention had focused on Irma, who reminded him of a young widow he desired to treat instead; his friends, including Otto, were portrayed as competitors. But critics piled on. There was the obvious fact that his theory seemed to be based on idiosyncratic associations, quite literally open to endless interpretation. The derision started full-bore after , when the University of Chicago physiologist Nathaniel Kleitman and his student Eugene Aserinsky discovered rapid eye movement sleep, or REM, as the backdrop for vivid dreams.
In REM, which occurs every 90 minutes or so, the eyes dart back and forth under closed lids while muscles become paralysed and body temperature drops, all as the dream unfolds. Instead, there emerged a new, cognitive approach to dream content. Those theories treated dreams as disembodied, ethereal and pristine products of an otherwise neutral information-processing machine we call the brain. Researchers such as Hobson saw dreams as nothing more than fanciful, ad hoc interpretations of random neural impulses rippling up from the brainstem, the engine of REM.
That purpose had to be rooted in evolution, I thought — one way or another, dreams helped us to survive.
Hall: A Cognitive Theory of Dream Symbols
I vividly recall the day in the late s when I realised that dreams and their unconscious sexual meaning were part of a larger whole. I was 18 and working in my first real job, as an orderly at a major detox centre in the skid-row section of Boston. I and another orderly were given the task of delousing, showering and cleaning up an old alcoholic who had been picked up off the streets for a drying-out period.
The old man was sitting under the shower letting the warm water slowly wash away the grime and dirt that covered his ravaged body. We threw the guy some soap and wash towels, and tried unsuccessfully to avoid smelling the stench that wafted off his rail-thin frame, when all of a sudden this emaciated, brittle old man jumped up, stared straight at us revealing a full erection and then lifted a massive metal table over his head, threw it against the wall and began wailing in ever louder sing-song tones a string of sexual expletives that left me and my colleague terrified that the man was crumbling, psychically, before our eyes.
A nurse quickly arrived and told us he was going into DTs, or delirium tremens , often the result of alcohol withdrawal. She finally calmed him down with a shot in the arm. When she told us that the guy was essentially acting out a dream or nightmare, and that DTs emerged out of REM sleep which I later discovered was only partly true , I knew I wanted to learn more.
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REM sleep not only produced those things dreams I had long been interested in due to Freud , but it was also capable, apparently, of turning a ravaged old man into a raging bull. A s years passed and my youthful fascination turned into professional research, the connections between REM sleep, dreams and sex hit me again and again: like the skid-row alcoholic, men experience very prominent erections that begin with the REM period.
Women experience clitoral engorgement with REM. Hoping for more insight, I spent my time as a graduate student in neuroscience at Boston University collecting dream reports from anyone who would share them with me. Over the years, themes began to emerge. For example, I became utterly convinced that men and women were dreaming drastically different types of dreams, with sex as a common theme. Men were always on some kind of adventure or engaging in some kind of violent war or dramatic struggle with other men, while women were typically talking animatedly with friends or other people they knew.
Ultimately I looked to dreambank. In one dream from the archives, for instance, a male college student explains that he was in a theatre restaurant with his date when she mentioned that a man on stage had previously insulted her and severely beaten her escort. The audience thought it was part of the performance and applauded. In their dreams, men engage in physical aggression against other men; women engage in verbal rejections and exclusions of other women.
Sigmund Freud and the Role of Dreams - Sample history of psychology paper
Another friend took care of her and gave her my bed to sleep in. She was always putting her arms around me … a very affectionate girl. While both dreams included romantic targets, the male dreamer describes aggression against potential competitors while the female dreamer subtly denigrates her competitor, the girl who received a beautiful ring.
After I became a professor at Boston University in the mids, I confirmed these observations in rigorous studies: men dream more often of other men than they do of women, while women dream equally often of men and women. In addition, men more often engage in physical aggression against other men in dreams, while women more often engage in non-physical forms of aggression, for instance verbal rejections and exclusions of others.
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I thought so, and my reasoning went like this: men dream more about aggressive interactions with other men because in our evolutionary past that was the way to get access to fertile females. Similarly, women more often dream about engaging in verbal aggression because gossip against competitors was a reproductive strategy for females. In one line of inquiry, I found ample evidence in the literature that sex hormones surged with REM sleep and dreams. The wish the child is dreaming about fulfilling comes from a wish that was not fulfilled the day before. This differs for our adult life because, according to Freud, in our waking life we tend to give dreams little consideration.
We usually reject them and forget them quickly. In his theory Freud says that our rejection of our dreams comes from immoral acts, which are in many of our dreams.
Freud also states that we must tell the difference between the manifest dream content, the parts of dreams we remember in the morning, and our latent dream-thoughts, the parts the we hide in the unconscious that we have to find again. In Freud's psychoanalytic laws we must use free association to get irruptive ideas from our dreams. Free association is the use of words to bring things buried in the unconscious to the surface.
From this use of free association you may discover some latent dream thoughts. In these latent dream thoughts you may find that the fancies that are found in dreams may connect with symptoms and memories. Now you can start to see the connection of children's dreams and adult's dreams.
Sigmund Freud - Duration Why do we dream?. Essay Topic: Sigmund Freud. His idea of the id explains why people act out in certain ways, Freud wrote Three Essays on the Theory of Introduction to Sigmund Freud's theory of Dreams.. Because Brain Pickings is in its twelfth year and because I write primarily Critically Evaluate Freud's Theory.
Sigmund Freud , the major problem with Freud's theory of dream function is that According to Freud how well we deal Dozens of theories about why we dream now How to write a brilliant psychology essay Freud's Theory of Unconscious.
Freud's psychoanalytic theories
Sigmund Freud believed that and dreams. His theory was to go deeper his developing theory of the mind. We live more We can write a custom Freud Essay. Writing a. Sigmund Freud believed He believed that we can infer the existence of the unconscious through slips of the tongue and dreams. Years later this theory is still. Why Do We Dream? We promise..