Dreaming is an activity. People in various cultures throughout history have understood the activity of dreaming in different ways that can be categorized as: (1) visits to a different world, (2) omens, (3) meaningless, and (4) continuous with waking life. Although the way the Senoi people of Malaysia were said to value and make use of dreams has been well popularized, it is now discredited. The assumption that dreams are an example of psychic phenomena is also without credible foundation. The dominant view of dreams in the Western world is that dreams are a product of the individual dreamer’s mind and what is contained within it. Much of this comes from their waking life but depends on the differing functional reorganization of the brain during REMS and NREMS and the brain’s rhythmic influences. Sensory stimuli and experiences at times are incorporated into dreams, sometimes through “dream incubation” where a person is able to determine prior to sleep what they will dream about. Overall, the dreams of individuals tend to remain consistent over their adult life, but there are also circumstances that can produce changes such as pregnancy, divorce, and psychological trauma.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Colorado Sleep ConsultantsFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Emeritus Professor Sleep and Dreaming Laboratory and Psychology Department Luther College Decorah DecorahUSA

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