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Faddis 1 Parker Faddis Stacie Weatbrook Eng 2010 15 October 2013 Dreams My research paper is that of dreams: what

they are, why they occur, and what they can potentially do to affect our physical lives. Just to go over a few facts about dreams, they can last a few seconds or up to twenty minutes. Most dreams occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep and if woken up during that time, you will most likely remember the dream you could potentially be having. Though still very little is unknown about dreams and what their exact purpose is. Many theories have been produced, and all have legitimate claims and support to back their theories up, yet equally as valid, there are claims contradictory to all proposed theories. Despite these problems on deducing dreams rightful purpose, one thing that seems to be generally agreed upon is that dreams can affect us, and Rapid Eye Movement sleep cycles do serve some purpose within some correlation of dreaming.

The first point I will discuss is Deirdre Barretts article, about seeing if dreams can help make decisions or more specifically solve problems with our dreams (115). Barretts experiment was done by using an old method of sleep Incubation. The process of incubation that Barrett used was giving subjects either an academic problem, or a something objective, or a personal problem that they would think about nightly for one week (116). Of those tested, the ones that thought about a personal problem, Barrett

Faddis noted almost half of the subjects felt they had found a solution to their problem, or

some sort of help(120). What this research has proven is that in our sleep our brains are truly active and can sometimes think of things that we normally wouldnt have when we are awake, though it most likely needs to be something that we internally care about, rather than a math equation. Since the test showed that the chances of you solving a personal problem is far more likely than some arbitrary problem. The credibility of the rhetor seemed substantial since the tests conducted used a process already used by a former psychologist. I feel this is article is very interesting since most people take dreams as something of nonsense that our brains spew out. When in fact dreams may be able to solve problems if we hold it in our minds long enough. On a side note, the article I read had a link of the original tests using incubation, which recounted several stories of famous instances where people would dream and have inspiration.

Next, I will explain a chapter in a book where David Koulack looks at that of Dreams, and stress and how each affects each other (321). How Koulack fell upon this discovery was when he was testing how dreams could be remembered more frequently and if stimulation of several sorts could affect the dream before sleep (322-323). What Koulack discovered was that these stimulation of a stressful sort, do in fact impact the content of a dream (324). What they noticed, though they could never actually see the actual content of the dream, was that those subjects who watched a stressful film and then were woken up before a REM stage, felt that their dream helped the stressful situation (323). Immediately following this claim, Koulack tells of another test that contradicts the first where a similar test was done on subjects where they would few a stressful movie

Faddis before they went to bed and after they had woken up (324-325). Doctors saw that those who had dreams about the stressor, were less able to cope when watching a second time, whereas those who didnt have a dream, showed no or better coping with the movie the

second time (326). Koulack then goes on to explain all of the other things that physically can effect you while you sleep, for example test were shown that water deprivation increased thirst-related dreams and general anxiety (327). The article finishes with Koulock explaining the science behind dream retrieval upon waking up and how it both can change the content of the dream and also the debate on whether avoiding stress dreams helps or inhibits a sleeper (330-332). Overall, what this article has told me is that dreams are still a widely mysterious process that understanding is fairly limited. Though the tests explained in this book did provide some insight as to what psychologists do understand about our sleep cycles and what things affect physically simply because of how we are woken up and what we are dreaming about. The author of this book does seem very credible and the testings he used to back his claims that were performed by other scientists were credible. Finally, I overall thoroughly enjoyed what this article had to say, considering I certainly have stress dreams myself, which I always felt did not help my situation at all. It is interesting to see then how many of us feel dreams are random when they may in fact be a direct result of at what point you were woken up in your sleep cycle. Next, I will tell of my interviews I gave with my parents and my neighbor and their personal experience with dreaming in their lives. I will begin with my interview with my neighbor Herald Haugen, who I decided would be a good candidate for my dream interview since he as an especially interesting story about a dream he had.

Faddis Heralds dream came to him several years ago, and what occurred in that dream, were a

set of instructions, specifically instructions on how to construct a large Christmas star. In this dream Herald was shown how he was to build the star, how to power it, and what it was made out of. Herald felt this dream was so vivid that he probably should listen to what his mind was telling him. Herald then actually built the star from his dreams and he then carried it up the mountain just near by and lit it up for every day in December. Now every year, Herald hikes the mountain and lights the star throughout the month of December. I also asked him if he has had other dreams as vivid as that one, and he replied that he cant think of any, and he admitted that up until that point, he couldnt ever recall any dreams hed had. Next, my interview with my parents went a little differently since they hadnt had any sort of inspiration like Herald did. I asked them if they felt like their dreams effected their decisions, both replied with no. However, when I asked them about if they feel like they have received answers to questions in dreams both felt like they had in one way or another. I also asked if there were any outstanding dreams that they could remember. With my Dad, his was when he was in dental school, he said he would be dreaming about doing dental work on patients and then he would forget all that he had learned. This is obviously an indication of his stress of that time with trying to remember everything for his finals. My mom says that she has a reoccurring dream where she cant get everyone ready for school fast enough in the morning. I also asked how frequently they can remember their dreams and what they looked like. Both replied that they felt they could only remember a dream about once every one or two months. I personally have several dreams a week that I can usually remember vividly, and so far, my stressful dreams havent solved any problems that I


have noticed. To conclude, what these interviews told me was that some of the research I found on stressful dreams being unhelpful was true, since neither of my parents felt the dreams really ever helped them. I also learned inspiration in dreams is an occurrence that happens more often then we think, we just need to be actively thinking usually for it to take place. Overall, I felt that my interviews, though interesting and still credible, didnt technically give much real evidence, since each person is so unique, for the theories to be backed up, we would need to interview tens of thousands of people to get a more accurate idea of what dreams can do. Finally, I would like to conclude my research paper with some interesting cases of where dreams had the ability to inspire, like my neighbor Herald had happen to him. Some interesting instances where dreams were to have said to inspire were that of the famous musical group, The Beatles, or more specifically, a dream that their lead singer had, Paul Mccartney. Paul McCarntey claimed to have come up with the tune for the song Yesterday after he woke up with a lovely tune as he calls it. Another truly famous occurrence is when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that he had the dream of his own assassination the night before it actually occurred. There is another case where Jack Nicklaus, a pro golfer had a dream where he was swinging his club perfectly, but he was holding his club in a way he hadnt before. Soon after he tried is technique and his golf game came out of his slump and he was better than ever. There are many more cases of people claiming to have had some sort of inspiration from a dream. Though this evidence is astounding, its credibility is not that well backed up, considering that dreams are entirely personal and no one is able to see what really occurred in these peoples heads. Though it is very compelling to hear of such miraculous events occurring that can

Faddis be credited to dreams. We may never know what dreams capabilities are or if they truly are meaningless, but we can agree that dreams are extremely interesting.


Works Cited Barrett, Deirdre. The Committee of Sleep: A Study of Dream Incubation for Problem Solving. 3.2 (1993): 115-122. PyscARTICLES. Web. 14 Sep. 2013. Koulack, David. The Functions of Dreaming. Albany: State University of New York, (1993). 321-332. Print. Haugen, Herald. Personal Interview. 13 Sep. 2013. Faddis, Jennifer. Personal Interview. 13 Sep. 2013. Faddis, Kelly. Personal Interview. 13 Sep. 2013.