How Dreams Affect Behavior

Tameeka W.

How Dreams Work

Little is known about the purpose for dreams, but we do have an idea of the process. There are five stages of sleep, stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM sleep. Most of sleeping is spent in stages 1, 2, and REM sleep. Stage 1 is light, and one can be easily woken in this stage. Eye and muscle activity is slow. This is the stage in which people experience the "falling" sensation. In stage 2 eye movement stops and brain waves slow, with few moments of rapid burst referred to as "sleep spindles". Stage 3 of sleep introduces incredibly low brain waves interspersed with small, fast waves. In stage 4 the brain waves are reduced to primarily slow brain waves with very few rapid burst, and there is no muscle or eye activity. REM sleep is "Rapid Eye Movement", referring to the quick jerks of the eyes in this stage. In Rem sleep breathing is irregular.

Effects of Dreams: Raija-Leena Punamäki

Dreams can affect your relationships, your performance, your mood, and your behavior. From the night to the morning one's mood is effected by dreams. Raija-Leena Punamäki conducted a study on traumatized versus non-traumatized children to see how dream content affects their day-time moods. The experiment consisted of 413 Palestinian girls and boys ranging in age from 6 to 15. The children were to record their experiences in a dream diary. It was concluded that mood change through the night does occur, and is not determined by age or gender. The results show that dysphoric dreams do lead to a negative mood in the morning.

Effect of Dreams: Rosalind D. Cartwright

Rosalind D. Cartwright experimented with a group of men and women going through a divorce. 49 men and women were a part of this experiment. In a year, 31 of them were diagnosed with depression. It was recorded that those who dreamed of their ex spouse were significantly less depressed than those who did not. The conclusion was that those in a stressful point in their lives who dream with strong emotion and incorporate the point of stress in these dreams are able to work through, move on, and cope with their stresses better.

Effects of Dreams: University of Maryland

Researchers at Maryland University conducted an experiment with couples, recording their dreams and behavior. It was recorded that significant others who recorded dreams about their significant other being unfaithful also fought more with their partners. This could also be a matter of reality affecting dream than dream affecting reality in some cases.


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