Dream Theories

Activities & Information for November 4th (Sec28)

INFORM: Sleep Disorders Assignment Due!

Monday, Nov. 4th 2013 at 11:45pm

This is an online event.

For more information, see Friday's Learning Block Post (https://smore.com/ufwk) or the Assignment Link in Moodle!


CELEBRATE! Outstanding Quizzes on Sleep & Hypnosis!

Congratulations to the following students for acing their Sleep & Hypnosis quiz! Keep up the great effort! Cori, Sarah, Caleb, Madison, Will, Emma, Whitney, Kieta, Sam, Andrew, and Carson!

INSTRUCT: A Variety of Dream Theories

We dream every night. Through all the sleep cycles. During this time, our body becomes immobile, paralyzed. The reasoning for this is survival. If you were not paralyzed, you would be enacting your dreams throughout the night. So the paralysis allows us to dream, but stay safe and warm in our bed.


However, there are many theories about the meaning of our dreams. We will examine our dreams' meanings in this module by analyzing the various dream theories.

Wish Fulfillment Theory

Originated by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, during the Victorian era. Freud believed that a dream was a wish your heart makes I. Freud thought whatever you were dreaming was really your deepest, darkest desire. In order to psychoanalyze your unconscious mind, Freud looked at the symbols within your dreams. He looked at latent and manifest content within the dream.
  • Manifest content is the factual content of the dream or the storyline of the dream (what you see, do, hear throughout the dream). Within the manifest content, there were symbols that represented the latent content of the dream.
  • The latent content is the symbolic, underlying meaning in the dream. For Freud, the underlying meaning of every dream referred back to a repressed sexual desire that manifested itself in your dream.


Collective Unconscious Dream Theory

Carl Jung was a follower of Freud who disagreed with the emphasis on repression of sex. Jung was a psychoanalyst as well, but instead of focusing on sex, Jung focused on a collective unconscious in all people.

Jung stated that there were certain symbols that throughout all cultures represented the unconscious mind. He called these symbols archetypes. When Jung examined a dream, he examined the symbols within the dream just like Freud; however, Jung focused on the repressed sexless meaning of the dream.

  • An example of an archetype is a father figure. If you have a dream with a father figure, according to Jung, the father figure represents authority.
  • If you have a dream about a baby, the baby symbolizes rebirth or salvation.

Cognitive Development

This theory states that we dream because our brain is growing. Our brain’s growth allows the cognitive (thinking) abilities to continue.

'Ephemeral and mysterious': an image of a brain from the Human Connectome Project. Courtesy of VJ Wedeen and LL Wald, Martinos Center, Harvard University

Check out the Educational Portal video link below!

Neural Plasticity / Sleep - Marcos Frank, Univ Penn

Neural Plasticity / Sleep - Marcos Frank, University of Pennsylvania