By: Jaya k & Annalisa V

Researchers in charge:

Allan Hobson & Robert McCarley

Background Information:

Many researchers have tried to explain and identify what our dreams mean to us. With the psychoanalytic approach, we believe that our dreams have deep meaning about conflicts that are hidden in the unconscious parts of out minds. Perhaps we saw our crush in our dream, or the brand new car we wanted. Our cognitive method to interpreting this is that maybe our crush likes us back, or we might just get that brand new car. We think these symbols mean something to us more than just a vague memory. On the other hand, Hobson and McCarley argued with a different approach and theorized that our dreams are strictly a biological phenomenon. Basically saying that our dreams don't mean anything to us, they're just random neural impulses.


Dreams are nothing more than your attempt to interpret random electrical impulses produced automatically in your brain during REM sleep.


Hobson and McCarley concluded that:

  • The primary motivating force for dreaming is not psychological, but physiological.
  • The part of the brain that controls physical movement and incoming information is at least as active as it is when you're awake.
  • Sensory information & motor output is blocked while you're asleep.
  • Immobilization occurs in the spinal cord, and not the brain itself.
  • The brain enters REM sleep at a regular and predictable interval and stays in that state for a specific amount of time.
  • Dreaming only occurs at specific times.
  • At least 95% of dreams are not remembered due to certain brain chemicals necessary for converting short-term memories into long-term memories being suppressed during REM sleep.

What Do You Mean???

Basically, from the research Hobson and McCarley concluded that the brain is only interpreting random neural impulses while trying to match them up with images from our memory, producing dreams.

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