Jump to content
Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -

The science of decoding dreams: do they really mean anything?


Still Waters

Recommended Posts

Quote

Dreaming is an almost ubiquitous human experience. When we drift off each night, imagery fills our sleeping minds – sometimes it’s vivid and realistic, other times nonsensical or nightmarish. Some dreams are consigned to memory, to be shared, laughed at, or perhaps even Googled, while others are quickly forgotten. Despite their universality, there are still many unanswered questions surrounding dreams. Maybe the most pressing of these, for anyone who’s had a particularly intriguing one, is: “What does it mean?”

These days, we know a fair bit about what is happening in our brains as we sleep – we even have some insight into what dreaming might look like in other species – but as for why we dream and what those dreams could mean, there remains a lot of mystery.

In light of this, we decided to dive into the science of decoding dreams and ask: Is there really any merit in it? 

https://www.iflscience.com/the-science-of-decoding-dreams-do-they-really-mean-anything-72674

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been dreaming about mice recently.  Any ideas?  I generally am there when someone else opens a cupboard and a couple of mice scurry out, giving them a shock.  If you want to analyze a dream, go for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/5/2024 at 12:17 AM, Alchopwn said:

I have been dreaming about mice recently.  Any ideas?  I generally am there when someone else opens a cupboard and a couple of mice scurry out, giving them a shock.  If you want to analyze a dream, go for it.

Did the mice wake you up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/3/2024 at 10:46 PM, Still Waters said:

[“There is so far no scientific demonstration that [dreams] serve a biological function,” De Koninck told IFLScience.]
I would say, most of the dream serve a biological function.

[Sigmund Freud, that they serve to protect sleep from disruption or represent the fulfillment of unrealized wishes]
This is one of the functions.

I've got some thoughts on why we sleep and dream, and I'd love to share them with you guys! Feel free to let me know what you think, , or if you have any different ideas.

+++
Example: A scary mouse would wake you up! Time to roll over of your body, or get up if you've had enough sleep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/6/2024 at 5:31 PM, JimmyLeung said:

Did the mice wake you up?

No they didn't.  I was surprised but I didn't wake up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only meaning a dream has is the meaning applied to it. Other than that dreams are meaningless. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Believe or not, there is a scriptwriter in our brain — a part of the brain function. That is. every night, the scriptwriter collects the elements and forms a dream/story with highly skilled and accurate timing, allowing us to sleep for as long as we need.

To ensure fresh themes, the scriptwriter draws elements from each day's experiences, explaining why familiar elements on that day may appear in our dreams. This also supports the suggestion that thinking or reading about something before bed can influence your dreams.

During dreaming, the scriptwriter keep gathering information from the day's memories stored in the brain. This explains why brain scans during dreaming show increased activity in the relevant areas. However, that this activity doesn't necessarily reflect a "data sorting" or "defragmentation" process like an old floppy disk. Our brain does not need it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(help by Gemini translation)

How to prove the existence of a scriptwriter in dreams:

 

One way to prove the existence of a scriptwriter in dreams is to analyze the structure and content of dreams. In particular, we can look for evidence of pre-planning or deliberate arrangement in the dream narrative.

 

For example, consider a dream in which the dreamer is being chased by someone. The chaser suddenly pulls out a knife they made themselves and attacks the dreamer. This scenario is unlikely to have been improvised on the spot. It is more likely that the dreamer's subconscious mind had pre-planned this sequence of events, including the detail of the self-made knife.

 

Not every dream will have this kind of pre-planning. However, if you analyze a large number of dreams and find even a few examples of such deliberate arrangement, this would be strong evidence for the existence of a scriptwriter.

 

Here are some additional arguments in favor of the scriptwriter hypothesis:

  •  
  • Dreams often have a clear narrative structure, with a beginning, middle, and end. This suggests that they are not simply random collections of thoughts and images, but rather that they have been crafted with a specific purpose in mind.

 

  • Dreams often incorporate elements from the dreamer's waking life, but they also frequently include fantastical or surreal elements. This suggests that the dreamer's subconscious mind is actively shaping the dream content, rather than simply passively recording external stimuli.

 

  • Dreams can be highly emotionally charged, and they can sometimes provide insights into the dreamer's subconscious thoughts and feelings. This suggests that dreams are not simply meaningless distractions, but rather that they can serve a valuable psychological purpose.

 

Of course, there is no scientific consensus on the existence of a dream scriptwriter. Some researchers believe that dreams are simply the result of random brain activity, while others believe that they have a deeper meaning and purpose. However, the evidence presented above suggests that the scriptwriter hypothesis is at least a plausible explanation for the nature of dreams.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why REM?

We've all had that experience: someone or something wakes you up, you struggle to open your eyes, and they feel heavy, dry, even painful for hours afterward. This is because our tear production almost shuts down during sleep, leading to dryness that causes our eyes and eyelids to stick together. During normal sleep cycles, including Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and wakefulness, tear production increases, leading to lubrication. Waking up before REM can leave us with dry, uncomfortable eyes.

While we wouldn't want to be in REM the entire time we sleep, it's strategically placed before waking to aid with this transition. However, since we often wake up briefly throughout the night (to use the restroom, check on things, etc.), the "scriptwriter" or the REM control system can't predict which awakenings will be final. This explains why REM can occur multiple times per night, ensuring sufficient lubrication even if we have brief interruptions.

Our bodies constantly face challenges, and our amazing brains and cells work tirelessly to solve them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/7/2024 at 7:08 AM, XenoFish said:

The only meaning a dream has is the meaning applied to it. Other than that dreams are meaningless. 

Perhaps -- depending upon the value placed on a person's subconscious mind. 

Dreams can be very meaningful, especially if we wish to know the many layers of the self.

If we choose to listen, an open mind can thrive from a dream.  See link below for 13 fascinating things that were "invented" or "discovered" from a dream: 

https://www.shortlist.com/news/dream-invention-frankenstein-dna-beatles

Edited by Megaro
clarity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dreams are not omens, nor do they directly reflect life status. Why do many people always dream of bad things? Being chased and running for your life, falling from a height, getting lost, not finding an exit, missing a plane/bus, losing your wallet, not finding your children,...often, before being harmed, you wake up. In fact, all kinds of plots are just because there is this need.

To have good quality sleep, there needs to be melatonin secretion, coupled with the first half of the dream, to make you sleep soundly and not wake up easily. Even if there is external disturbance, the scriptwriter will immediately turn the disturbance into a dream plot, making the disturbance part of the process, so you don't have to worry and don't have to wake up. For example, hearing sounds, feeling cold/hot, needing to urinate, the scriptwriter will cleverly write suitable plots for these, all for the sake of maintaining sleep.

When the second half is nearing the end, that is, when you have slept enough and need to wake up, turn around, or it is time to get up, the dream will present some tense plots, which will increase adrenaline and balance the hormones in the blood, so that it is suitable for physical activity.

Has everyone tried it? If you sleep too much for a long time, you will feel less awake all day.

In another situation, if we are woken up from a deep sleep, we may seem a little angry, because of the sudden increase in adrenaline. On the contrary, after a round of sexual stimulation, a kind of comforting secretion will make people calm down. The same is true for children after crying for a round.

...

In our blood, throughout the day, hormones are constantly being added and subtracted for various reasons. After that, they need to be neutralized or reduced. The function of sleep is the function of a blood purifier, and dreaming can optimize and control the cleaning process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dreams are personal myths.

Myths are public dreams. 

 

The only meaningful links anyone is likely to find for a personal dream is to sit with the dream and see if signals of significance arise.  The subconscious communicates in symbols and while some symbols may have a social aspect... each psyche is its own process, so what arises for another will be significant to them. 

Jung's Active Imagination is an extremely potent process, if inclined.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/15/2024 at 9:30 AM, JimmyLeung said:

Why REM?

You don't want to dream in Depeche Mode.

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/7/2024 at 5:08 AM, XenoFish said:

The only meaning a dream has is the meaning applied to it. Other than that dreams are meaningless. 

I don't agree with that absolutely.  Some dreams are meaningless but I believe some are your subconscious trying to tell you something about yourself or something going on in your life.  Some people are adept at decoding these like helen of annoy (wherever she is)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, OverSword said:

I don't agree with that absolutely.  Some dreams are meaningless but I believe some are your subconscious trying to tell you something about yourself or something going on in your life.  Some people are adept at decoding these like helen of annoy (wherever she is)

That's still an applied meaning, not inherent meaning. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

That's still an applied meaning, not inherent meaning. 

Applied as in of practical as opposed to theoretical?

 

Edited by OverSword
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Applied as in of practical as opposed to theoretical?

 

Two people dream of a snake. The interpreter declare it a sign of good fortune. However the second person is deathly afraid of snakes. Make the dream image an omen. So is the snake good or bad? Basically it's a "make it up as we go along" type of thing. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

Two people dream of a snake. The interpreter declare it a sign of good fortune. However the second person is deathly afraid of snakes. Make the dream image an omen. So is the snake good or bad? Basically it's a "make it up as we go along" type of thing. 

Generally I agree with you, however have had very specific interpretations with non-traditional symbolism that actually did relate directly with sources of stress in my life that I was otherwise in denial about.  I believe that some dreams are actually the sub-conscious mind trying to communicate something to the conscious mind as I believe I have experienced it.  All subjective of course as it can't be proven or disproven.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Generally I agree with you, however have had very specific interpretations with non-traditional symbolism that actually did relate directly with sources of stress in my life that I was otherwise in denial about.  I believe that some dreams are actually the sub-conscious mind trying to communicate something to the conscious mind as I believe I have experienced it.  All subjective of course as it can't be proven or disproven.

What you choose to believe is none of my business. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, OverSword said:

Generally I agree with you, however have had very specific interpretations with non-traditional symbolism that actually did relate directly with sources of stress in my life that I was otherwise in denial about.  I believe that some dreams are actually the sub-conscious mind trying to communicate something to the conscious mind as I believe I have experienced it.  All subjective of course as it can't be proven or disproven.

I was tutored in dream interpretations many years ago by a brilliant man who I think had it absolutely correct.

It goes like this...

We all have a 'primitive brain'.   The primitive brain of wild animals assesses the environment looking for sounds and clues of danger while the animals are sleeping.  Hence, sleeping with one eye open.  However; as our evolution into neo-cortex began, our 'primitive brain' i.e. the brain stem is still doing what the primitive brain does...assessing the environment around us in which we sleep.  But the environment it is assessing is the mental environment.  The primitive brain does wellness assessment of the mental goings on while our bodies and minds are resting.

Therefore, it is important to look at dreams as closely as we can to what they would be in real life.  You might walk across a bridge...and then dream of walking across a bridge.  What the primitive brain, i.e. our subconscious does is searches for imagery to illustrate its assessment of our mental state.  So, you tell me you crossed a bridge in your dream.  But  you didn't dream about crossing a bridge because you crossed a bridge.  You dreamed about crossing a bridge because that is the imagery your subconscious is using to illustrate the assessment.  

For example:  In reality, what is a bridge?  A bridge is something we cross over to get from one point to another where it would be difficult to make that crossing without a bridge.  In a dream, we look at the bridge as a 'mental bridge'.  Because while we are sleeping, everything is mental. The mental bridge then would suggest that you are attempting to get from one 'mental point' to another where the going isn't a clear path.

Dreams are always about us.  Characters in our dreams, regardless of whether or not we know them, are about us.  

You are correct @OverSword  Dreams are the way our sleeping mind communicates to the conscious mind the mental assessment it has made while we are sleeping.  All dreams are personal to the dreamer.  So, one person might dream of a snake...another person might dream of a snake but the two experiences are personal to the dreamer.  It's all mental.  But it really all depend  on what is going on in the dreamers personal awakened life.  When we look at our dreams in that  way, quite often the reason for the dream becomes very apparent.

You dream of a house with tall ceilings, as opposed to another dreaming of a house with very short ceilings.  The house then becomes our 'mental house'  which is where we keep all of our stuff, our mental stuff.  Our thoughts, etc.  So, a tall ceiling  might suggest a thought process that is growing and has few boundaries where a short ceiling might indicate the opposite.  A very rigid thought process where growth isn't really happening. Again, I think it is imperative to consider what is going on in our personal lives with regards to our dream world.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/4/2024 at 10:17 AM, Alchopwn said:

I have been dreaming about mice recently.  Any ideas?  I generally am there when someone else opens a cupboard and a couple of mice scurry out, giving them a shock.  If you want to analyze a dream, go for it.

In our awakened state a mouse is a small rodent, They carry diseases, they are unwanted in our homes, they move fast and hide in the shadows and in places we cannot access.  In reality they are harmless, little creatures but because of their size and speed they tend to scare a lot of people.

In our sleeping state, the mice then become 'mental mice'.   So I would ask you to look at what is going on in your own awakened reality.  Mice might indicate thoughts (not necessarily yours) that are unwanted, coming seemingly out of nowhere.  Thoughts that other people might find shocking or distasteful.  The cupboard is a place where we keep our cups and dishes...things we use in the pursuit of sustenance.  Our sustenance mentally then might be things that we read or see or listen to or our conversations with other people.  

I think  your dream of mice suggests something along those lines.   Others opening the cupboard, might suggest that  there is a point of view or a thought process that you are  struggling to make sense of. 

Not alot to go on but, there you go.  No charge! ;)

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, joc said:

  Thoughts that other people might find shocking or distasteful. 

I am an academic and I live alone presently so I don't have to put up with other people and their distaste for my intrusive thoughts. 😆

  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are many dreams strange?

This is by design. When we are awake, we will remember certain things. For example, someone owes me money. Is this real? Or was it a dream I had last night? Strange dreams let us know that they are not real, that they are just dreams. So the scriptwriter will make the plot strange, hoping that it will not be confused with real memories.

Another way to avoid confusion with real memories is to store dream memories in a specific place that is difficult to access during the day. Only when we dream is this part opened up and accessible.

Some people will not remember having dreams at all last night. According to statistics, the average work ability of this type of person is generally higher. This tells us that remembering dreams is not very beneficial for us overall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tibetan lamas are the masters of the mind. They are trained from a young age to control their body temperature, memorize scriptures, meditate, and lucid dream. All of this is for the sake of survival and the continuation of their teachings.

In Tibet, the temperature can drop very low. If you don't wear enough clothes, you can freeze to death. To overcome this problem, the lamas have a method of using their minds to raise their body temperature and stay warm, allowing them to withstand the cold.

This situation is something that most people and animals experience almost every day, to varying degrees.

When we go to bed, our physical activity decreases to a minimum, our heart rate slows down, and our body temperature begins to drop.

If we fall asleep at this time, our body temperature may drop too low. To solve this problem, we need a way to raise our body temperature. This requires adding certain hormones to the blood, which stimulates the body to enter "fight or flight" mode, increasing heart rate, breathing rate, and metabolic rate, which in turn leads to an increase in body temperature.

How can this be done? By dreaming, which makes us believe that the dream scenario is actually happening. This increases the hormones in the blood and raises the body temperature.

This is something we all need, so we often have exciting and thrilling dreams, just to raise our body temperature. It is estimated that other animals do this as well.

Therefore, if we have a dream of this kind, we don't need to overthink what the dream is trying to tell us. Of course, there is a good chance that the scriptwriter will use our daytime memories, which may be formed by our life situation and physical condition. So sometimes a scary dream may be related to your life, but the purpose of the dream is not to tell you anything, but simply to meet this need.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.