What Does Science Tell Us About Dreams?

Life Nov 11, 2021

Since the beginning of our history, humanity has observed and experienced various phenomena that could not be explained at the time. As the years passed and we evolved, the advancement of science allowed us to understand how the world and even the universe worked.

However, there is still a mystery that we have not been able to fully decipher: dreams. Different theories try to explain what happens in our minds while we sleep.

None of these hypotheses have been fully tested, and we may never know if they are true, but they do offer us some interesting answers that you should know.

Sigmund Freud's theory

Sigmund Freud is a famous psychoanalyst who revolutionized the field of psychology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. About dreams, Freud claimed that they were only a product of the residue of experiences lived during the day. In this way, when dreaming, the brain processes our memories and emotions.

To test this hypothesis, a group of scientists brought together various volunteers to evaluate their dreams. For this, they asked them to write down in a notebook everything that happened to them during 10 days, giving special relevance to their emotions. Then, during the nights, they would wake the volunteers 10 minutes after falling asleep to ask about their dreams.

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The result, in most of the volunteers, appeared to be the same. The participants experienced dreams related to the most intense moments of their day. This seems to prove Freud's theory, although there is another explanation about the origin of dreams.

Dreams and evolution

Some psychologists raised the possibility that dreams were born out of evolutionary necessity. Our ancestors needed to be ready at all times for any dangerous situation. In this sense, the brain, through dreams, helped humans to prepare while they slept, to face any situation during the day.

This "threat simulation" theory would explain why most dreams tend to be negative or even scare us. All this helps us to better cope with situations that generate anxiety or stress when we are awake.

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