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VELASQUEZ/ Dreaming: Nature’s Virtual Reality 1

Dreaming: Nature's Virtual Reality

Don M. Velasquez
General Psychology, TF/9:00-10:30
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This paper intends to discuss that not all dreams are just unexplained phenomenons but has

meanings to our everyday living. And because of this, this was construct based on current

research findings as proposed by Kramer and Barasch (2000), Kuchinsky, Charlotte (2007),

Marano, Hara Estroff (2005), Neimark, Jill (1998), Psychology Today Staff (1995), and JLC

(2006). The paper will consolidate on how the brain function during the dreaming stage, how

does hallucination affects one’s dream, can dreaming be hand-in-hand with our moods, and lastly

are dreams have symbolism and interpretations. According to the sources, dreams or dreaming

are one of the unexplained phenomenons in our daily lives that need a deeper explanation and

understanding. Although dreams said to be an unknown and undiscovered pathway for many

individuals, it is also a state in which the mind during sleep is constantly feels real and

immersive where there is a crystal-clear imagery. Dreams can produce symbolisms and

representations to help us in our daily lives; it can construct theories that can solve the enormous

problems of an individual; and in the bigger picture, it can change one’s existence.
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Oh no, a giant, smelly monster is chasing you! Suddenly you wake up and you are back

in your own bed. Phew, it was only a dream. Most people do not realize it, but dreaming is a very

important part of our lives. If we do not dream, we could end up with protein deficiency or a

personality disorder. Dreams have even helped make medical discoveries throughout history.

Everyone has dreams every night even if they do not realize it. But what are the things that we

should consider if we are dreaming? This paper integrates to talk about and understand that not

all dreams are just unexplained phenomenons but has meanings and explanations to our everyday

living. I throw up seven questions which I aim to resolve in this paper. First, what are the phases

that the mind execute in order to have a dream according to Psychology Today Staff (1995)

which I will discussed one by one. Second, are dreams having implications or is it just sensation

that play a part with the help of Kramer and Barasch’s (2000) article. Third, I will talk about if

dreams and mood changes going hand-in-hand using Kramer and Barasch’s (2000) research.

Fourth, are both dreams and phantasm engaged in rigorous initiation of the seeking system and

what is the role of dopamine in the brain in which I will further tackle by means of Marano

(2005) on her article. Fifth, I will investigate if dreams and rapid-eye-movement sleep one and

alike with the help of the theories of Neimark (1998). Sixth, I will dig deeper on what are there

types of dreams and if there is, I will enumerate one-by-one these types of dreams based on

Kuchinsky’s (2007) observation. Lastly, I will emphasize also what are the basic misconceptions

that individuals still follow during sleeping and having dreams as proposed by JLC (2006).
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Phases that the mind execute in order to have a dream

The physiological occurrence, or how the dream physically happen, could be one of the

least understood subject in psychology. A dream begins in the brain steam and controlled by two

neurotransmitters that turn dreams "on" and "off.” The "on switch" uses a neurotransmitter called

acetylcholine to begin the dream and the "off switch" uses neurotransmitters called

norepinephrine and serotonin to end it. When the two chemicals suppressed, the acetylcholine

allows electrical signals to send to the cortex of the brain. Norepinephrine and serotonin are also

necessary to imprint messages in long-term memory, thought to be in the hippocampus of the

brain, since the two chemicals suppressed during the dreaming process, dreams cannot be stored

in long-term memory. In addition, brain scans reveal that a certain brain activity producing a

wave known as a theta rhythm comes from the hippocampus, or memory part of the brain.

Meanwhile the nerves that usually carry information from the outside world shut down.

According to Robert Stickgold, Ph.D quoted by the Psychology Today staff on the article

called How to build a dream, which the mind becomes clinically insane for two hours every

night and then we hallucinate wildly, see, and hear things that is not there. We become

delusional. So how does this happen? Although the brain actively participate and play a part

while we dream it starts at the brain’s most primal regions, the pontine brain stem or as we called

the pons. This pons has a region called the FTG (gigan to cellular field of the tegmentum). These

FTG neurons become active and shift the brain into the rapid eye movement (REM) stage

wherein the eyes rush hysterically from side to side. This stage means that we are in our slumber

sleep; that we dream the longest; and we produce several dreams. We encounter every night 4-6

REM cycles every 15-30 minutes. However, before it started the FTG first transmit electrical

signals all the way through the brain and the dream creation begins to activate. After that, the
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electrical signals must reach the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, chooses a mood or

emotion from some mental menu for the dream to have a story.

The Psychology Today staff utters also that the electrical waves form FTG turns on the

cerebral cortex (we can find the brain cells that supply memories and visual images, the details

of dreams). During the REM sleep, low-level disorder occurs within the cortex with the intention

of the neurons that receive the signal to discharge somehow remain tacit. This called a decrease

in the signal-to-noise ratio. This is why many of our dreams are out of the ordinary thus; the

brain is a connection maker.

Dreams: implications or sensations?

The nature of dream activity has been characterized by many clinical and laboratory

studies. These studies show that dreams are more perceptual than conceptual: Things seen and

heard rather than thought. In terms of the senses, visual experience is present in almost all

dreams; auditory experience; and touch, taste, smell, and pain. A considerable amount of emotion

is commonly present usually a single, stark emotion such as fear, anger, or joy rather than the

modulated emotions that occur in the waking state. Most dreams are in the form of interrupted

stories, made up partly of memories, with frequent shifts of scene. So concisely, dreams have no

natural significance. Emotions only play the role when we dream.

Dreams as we see, they are epitomizer of our lives; they represent the sensation we keep

unexpressed during the day. In addition, luckily, we can see gender discrepancy in dream

emotions. Every men and women naturally account different emotional states during the day. We

can observe that men are likely to express that they are mad but women just hide it and get

depressed. Nevertheless, according to Hobson and Stickgold, dreams are identical to both men
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and women. Why is this so? They found out that a third of our dreams produces and involves

anger while the remaining two-thirds are emotionally negative that becomes more unpleasant as

we further dream. It is result to cognitive-emotional feedback. That the more negative emotions

produce; the more it reminds the dreamer to produce negative thoughts. That in return produces

higher emotional negativity.

However, according to Kramer and Barasch’s article called dreamspeak, they believed

that dreams do have meaning. The nature of that meaning helps determine our mood for the next

day. Therefore, it establishes how we function and what we can accomplish. In literal meaning, if

we dream on that night, it sets the stage for our action in the following day, filling in us. In an

experiment, they monitor Linda, 24 to perform in the sleep laboratory. Whenever she begins to

have a REM, her brain speeded up, her pulse, breathing and blood pressure fluctuating, the

researchers awakened and asked her to report any dreams that she experienced and saw. Thus,

these interpret our dreams. As a result, it was a progressive in nature. In her dreams, she went

from a clingy little girl to an assertive woman in charge of her life. According to her:

It started with dependent longing to care for by the doctor (father figure). This desire

stirred the fear of rejection by a married woman (mother figure). The tension between the

desire to be cared for and the fear of rejection was resolved, in which she had won victory

with a partner of her own. She tried to reject the desire to be cared for, but still, the need

for care exist (the bandage). Finally, she asserted a more vigorous rejection of the doctor,

serving to deny her need and the doctor’s ability to meet the need.

This means that dreams have meanings that can interpret and can predict somehow our future for

some reason. Thus, we can say that Linda has this we called multiple dreams because in one

night, she dreamt five situations in a row. Furthermore, because of this numerous dreams, they
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discovered two modes of dream processing, two approach of responding to our uncertain

tribulations. First, the progressive sequence in which it determines emotional problems by

functioning through them systematically, and by put side by side them to previous trials that at

some point or another we met effectively. Second, the repetitive sequence in which it is not as

good as required to resolve emotional difficulty but simply show again them metamorphically

repeatedly during the night’s dreaming without registering any advancement. We can settle on

what will be beneficial or adverse in our dream sequence. It depends on two aspects and that is

whether there is in our emotional armory a key to the kind of problem at hand, and whether we

happen to be up to the undertaking. Therefore, in solving our predicaments, some of our dream

experiences are more advantageous.

Therefore, dreams have organization, and they expose vital psychological features for our

lives and individuality. Organization seems to lay concrete on the way for meaning. It is not just

the intrigues of unconscious on arbitrary play. If dreams were random, we would not have

initiated any similarities. Furthermore, dreams really vary from every individual. As well as from

day-to-day basis, it reinforces the idea that the events of each day play out in the night’s dream.

Moreover, because of this, it can revolutionize our mood for better or worse everyday.

The relationship between moods and dreams

Another observation that Kramer and Barasch wants us to understand is that changes in

mood across the night can transpire to be related to individuals and behaviors that occupy

subject’s dreams. In addition, they found out that individual’s mood changed across the night

along with changes in their dream matter. The explanation to those mood switches was a matter

of who starred in the dream and what panoramas they acted out. In their article, they emphasize
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what Freud said that dreams are the guardians of sleep continuity in a sense that sleep can

potentially be broken up by emotional rush forward thus the role of dreaming has to contain

these emotional surges. Therefore, Freud utters that we need sleep to be constant if we are to

recover our mood over the direction of the night. Are nightmares can decrease the emotional

surge? Yes of course, nightmares occur when dream fail to take the edge off the body’s emotional

response. Some factors result the possibility that the mood change. These are the amount of sleep

and the amount of REM sleep. The less a person sleep and having REM sleep, they have some

psychological problems like they feel foggy, unhappy, uncomfortable with the situations

throughout the day and others. Therefore, it is important for an individual to have a complete and

enough sleep to have a good mood on the next day.

Dreaming, in its hallucinatory state

Dreams are a delusional hallucinatory state expressed by Solms and quoted by Marano in

her article, Why We Dream, because establishment of the brain’s basic motivational approach

determines it. For many instances, that figment of the imagination appears to be strengthening by

a great quantity of the neurotransmitter dopamine. So what is the dopamine that makes an

individual’s dream to be in a hallucinatory state? Under dopamine’s control, events, or notions

swoop of the surroundings, take hold of our concentration, move us to do something and drive

goal-directed manners. Consequently, this neurochemical dictate what is most important in our

surroundings, regardless of whether that environment is inside us or outside. The research

mapping the functions of the brain have shown that the hallucinations of psychosis involve

hyperactivation of the seeking system’s structure. They also involve dysregulated dopamine

transmission. In other words, dopamine stimulates the brain to dispense unusual importance to its
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own inner representation. Delusions said to be inaccuracy of salience acknowledgment. When

we dream, we share many traits with hallucinations. They are the hallucinations we all meet.

Dopamine’s role in dreaming

Solms, quoted by Marano, points to us the hoarding evidence that dreaming and

hallucinations, determined by dopamine. Dopamine also discharge in the brain’s nucleus

accumbens, a site long recognized to be involved in the hallucinations of schizophrenia, is

maximal during dream sleep According to Claude Gottesmann, quoted on Marano. The good

thing about dopamine-boosting drug L-dopa is that it treats Parkingson’s disease. It provokes

human beings to have further dreams, substance that is more emotional and more out of the

ordinary dreams. Aggravated by dopamine also, it can satiate our mentality with myraid stimuli

that feel valuable of our awareness, added by Solms. Irritated into seeking but barren as of action

by paralyzing neurochemicals unconstrained during dream sleep, people nourish on their own

inner version of the humankind. Moreover, we arouse eager for spanking knowledge that put

together our supernatural cinema of inner signs.


According to Jill Neimark on his article about Night Life, the powers of dreams have

always been underestimated. There is a completely new world in the sub conscious mind that

helps us in a subtle way. Everybody dreams but not everybody can remember them. We usually

do not remember dreams when we suddenly wake up and move about. This happens when you

are usually in a rush, when your alarm clock goes off or you are to get up quickly. You remember

dreams on such occasions as you lie in on the weekends when you wake up slowly and gradually
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change from the sub-conscious mind to the conscious mind. Do we dream to put out of your

mind or to hark back? We dream throughout the night, sometimes while in profound sleep. In

addition, this profound sleep manifested by gradual EEG waves, at some stage in which the body

upkeep itself, discharge growth hormone. REM sleep, quite the opposite, is a viciously “awake”

sleep; the muscles are at relaxation but the brain as well as nervous system is extremely

functioning. Therefore, dreams and REM are not the same. The number of the brain cycles

through REM sleep is about four to six times a night. Thus, the first REM cycle go along ninety

minutes of slow-wave deep and last about ten minutes. REM cycles extend all the way through

the night and the dreams get more peculiar and in depth. REM dreams tend to be consistently

more sensitive and remarkable than non-REM ones. We definitely paralyzed by this cycle from

the neck down and our maximum for sensory input rose. So that external stimuli infrequently

reach and awake us and because we literally paralyzed while we dream, we do not act out our

nightly hallucinations, or else we might wave our arms, contract, and actually stand up and

occupy ourselves out on our dreams. For this reason, REM is an apparent suggestion that we

have sneaked into that exact period of slumber.

However, J. Allan Hobson’s, Ph.D., anticipated that dreams are a sort of sequence of

events arrangement we oblige on the unsystematic firing of neurons in the brainstem. The

neocortex, our meaning-maker, generates stories out of this neuronal chaos. Those tales may

undeniably be evidences to our inner selves. Nevertheless, as soon as brains scrutinized during

dreaming, researchers discover that the frontal lobes, which integrate information, are power cut,

and the brain motivated by its emotional centers. The mind was in point of fact “reverse

learning,” that REM sleep permits the neurons to emit out each day’s unauthentic and extra

stimuli, refining the brain thus the purpose of neural chaos. To come to the point, people need a
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lot of sleep sequentially to learn. They need specific cycles of sleep and when awakened before

their last REM cycle, the brain is not capable to secure the recollection of the undertaking.

Dreams are so compelling, and they often seem so weird and strange - surely, they must

have a "purpose”; that is, an "adaptive role" in the maintenance of our bodily or psychological

health. Dreams are a communication of body, mind, and spirit in a symbolic communicative

environment state of being. Our brains are in constant activity. Different states of consciousness

(like awake, asleep, alert, drowsy, excited, bored, concentrating, or daydreaming) because

different brain wake activity. Every person on Earth dreams every night, and we all end up

passing about a third of our lives in sleep. It follows that there must be something very important

going on while we sleep and dream, yet in the industrialized world, we generally pay little

attention to our dreams. How astonishing that we generally ignore this third of ourselves.

Nevertheless, some other people most especially dream interpreters do seem to have the same

opinion that dreams may really have significance and levels. Thus, our dreams categorize

depending upon the event that happened on that night that individuals reached their REM.

Dreams: The 5 major types

On the article, The Five Different Types of Dreams by Charlotte Kuchinsky, it appears

much diverse variety of dreams. Several even come together their dreams to formulate a dream

seems to be tricky to recognize and harder to interpret. Nevertheless, dream interpreters classify

it to five categories. First category is the Aspirational Dreams. It do business with our inner

wants, desires, and wishes but it do not for all time deal with truth and might not even run in any

kind of logical pattern. So aspirational dreams contract with our thoughts or fantasies, they do

not have to make a ideal logic and it might bring to an end with us attaining a most wanted
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aspiration or they could show us why something we anxiously yearn for might not be the right

option for us. Every now and then, they finish unexpectedly without any ultimate assumption.

Second is the astral dream. It is the dream that from time to time evoked but just as frequently

over and done as soon as we are in the conscious state. These dreams are irreplaceable from the

others for the reason that it generally get together with friends and family who have previously

departed. According to some age believers, we consume the time with our spirit guides.

Strangers that we merely be familiar with in our dreams and its intention is for us to acquire

assistance from those in a exceptional standing to distinguish the big picture, while we can barely

share out with where we presently are and what we wish for. Furthermore, it has a tendency to

have a consistent order and has no boundary with involve to time or space. Consequently, the

people that drag into their astral dream will be contented; blissful to catch a glimpse of us; joyful

with their life after death; pleased in every reverence. Therefore, astral dreams are very amiable

dreams that even though we would not retain information from it, once we are wide-awake, we

without human intervention have a response to whatever question or situation was vexed us prior

to the dream. Third kind of dream is the Liberating dream. This dream performs a vital purpose:

it assist us get purge of uncertainties, insecurities, and frustrations that a person cannot give the

impression to dole out with when the person is conscious. These doubts, worries, and concerns

habitually obscured deep within our subconscious and, for that reason, we may perhaps not even

be familiar with them as concerns in our existence. Furthermore, these dreams are approximately

always perplexing that it is a non-logical means or in no specific order, as if it like a portion of

puzzles that they locate together. In addition, with these dreams, it involves various modes of

contradiction and rejection. Next dream is the Problem-solving dreams. In fact, Problem-solving

dreams are self-explanatory. This type of dream is the line of attack for our subconscious to get
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all the way through our alert mind. To furthermore elaborate it, problem-solving dreams is like a

person ever gone to sleep with a problem on his/her mind, only to wake up with perfect solution,

then the person experience this dream. Lastly, we could categorize our dream as a psychic dream.

These dreams are more or less always occur in a chronological order. Unlike the other dreams,

psychic dreams are all the time in the brightest, most stunning colors that we can envision.

Individuals do not have to be sensitive to have this sort of dream but it might help individuals

better to appreciate the incident. The function of psychic dreams is usually to convey a

forewarning. Sometimes the dreamer obtain an adequate amount of information to do business

with the warning once they fully awake. Other times, they may possibly only be alert of the

feeling of anxiety or hesitation or fear that only sort it out when it must in conclusion drawn

against. Most of our dreams actually serve viable purposes and we can say that it can have

different categories and interpretations.

Sleeping and dreaming: basic misconceptions

There are many myths about sleeping and dreaming. Numerous of those myths draw

closer from in the distance reality. Meaning that from a fact, they added to it and made a myth.

There are three unusual myths: others believe that everyone needs eight hours of sleep; that

dreaming could be fatal; and lastly that it is easy to learn hard lessons such as foreign language

while sleeping. All these three are several of the myths and these myths have verified to be solely


According to JLC on the article, Myths about Sleep and Dreaming, he expressed that on

the first myth is that all beings must get thorough hours of sleep that is about eight hours to be

exact. However, he said that the standard sleep of a person is only 7.6 hours a night, some people
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requiring as a small amount as fifteen minutes to sleep and it could be probable. To the utmost, a

quantity of individuals needs a large amount as eleven hours a sleep at night. These two types of

sleepers are short-sleeepers and long- sleepers. Many causes play into how much sleep one

desires. The factors that can influence individuals sleeping habits are our genetic gene, our

sleeping hygiene, such as vices like smoking, drinking alcohol and drinking much coffee. The

quality of an individual sleep is much desirable in factor in how much sleep that an individual

need nightly. Thus, if an individual completed their right amount of sleep without any factors

affecting them not to sleep, as a result, that individual will have a pretty good sleep and that

individual will be more refreshed, energetic, and can do many tasks at hand throughout the day.

Secondly, that dreaming of breathing your last breath can be critical. Nevertheless, how can this

be? There is no established information that dreaming of dying can be a basis of a person to die.

Let it say that if a person has dreamed of dying and died for the duration of that dream, there is

no road for any person to recognize that they died while having a dream concerning dying.

However, the truth is that there is a relationship between the parts of our brain that is in charge of

vital life functions and with the dreaming part of our brain, therefore, inside of our dreams can

start out the similar responses as when a person awakes. If a person is encountering nightmares,

the person’s body may act in response the same way as if somewhat awful was happening to that

person when that person is awake, but there is certification demonstrating that a number of

people have had dreams of dying and lived to let know about it. The nightmares give the

impression so genuine and powerful that at some point it turned out to be an ordinary principle

that if the person do not get up before that person depart this life in your dream, then that person

is a dead body in truth as well. Last but not least, it is a familiar idea that people be capable of

discover a easier said than done lessons while an individual is having forty winks, such as a
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unfamiliar language. The actuality is various studies illustrates fundamental learning while

sleeping, on the contrary not anything is momentous. Not much information preserved once an

individual wakes up. Conversely, particular studies accomplished that at some people can do

learn while sleeping, so possibly it depends on the person and the period of sleep where they are

in. In short, sleeping and dreaming is quite astonishing and very attention grabbing to discover


Dreams and dreaming is an essential element of our being. They are a dependable

foundation of insight, individual improvement, and life asserting revelation. Dreams are the

language of a person's intuitive psyche. Before a person establishes to dream, there are precise

cycles or stages that a human being goes all the way through in their sleep. Sleeping is

significant to our existence. Many inhabitants consume about twenty-five years sleeping and

dreaming. There are four-ninety minute periods of sleep that a person goes through a night.

These dreams are narrative like, powerful, and avid.

Dreams have been substances of never-ending enthrallment and secrecy for human race

ever since the establishment of time. These nighttime vibrant imagery seem to happen from some

basis other than our average conscious mentality. They enclose a blend of rudiments from our

own individual characteristics, which we distinguish as recognizable along with a value of

`others' in the dream images that bear a gist of the bizarre and supernatural. The out of the

ordinary and absurd characters and plots in dreams point to deeper connotations and surround

lucid and perceptive observations on our waking circumstances and emotional understanding
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JLC. “Myths about Sleep and Dreaming.” Associated Content. 19 June 2006. 16 Jan. 2009



Kramer, Milton and Barasch, Marc Ian. “dreampseak.” Psychology Today. Sept/Oct 2000.

07 Jan. 2009 <>.

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. “The Five Different Types of Dreams.” Associated Content.

20 Sept. 2007. 16 Jan. 2009



Marano, Hara Estroff. “Why We Dream.” Psychology Today. Marc/Apr 2005. 07 Jan. 2009


Neimark, Jill. “Night Life.” Psychology Today. Jul/Aug 1998. 07 Jan. 2009


Psychology Today Staff. “How to build a dream.” Psychology Today. Nov/Dec 1995. 07 Jan.

2009 <>.