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Dream Duration and Frequency: – Humans spend approximately two hours dreaming per night. – Each dream typically lasts between 5 to 20 minutes. – Dreamers […]

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Dream Duration and Frequency:
– Humans spend approximately two hours dreaming per night.
– Each dream typically lasts between 5 to 20 minutes.
– Dreamers may perceive dreams as longer than their actual duration.
– Dream content and function have been subjects of scientific, philosophical, and religious interest.
– The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology.

Historical Perspectives on Dreams:
– Dream interpretation dates back to ancient civilizations like the Babylonians and Sumerians.
– Dreams have played significant roles in religious texts and psychotherapy.
– The origin of dreams in the brain and their purpose remain unknown.
– The significance of dreams has evolved throughout history, with ancient writings highlighting visitation dreams and post-dream behaviors.

Subjective Experience and Content of Dreams:
– Dreams have transitioned from passive auditory experiences to visualized narratives.
– Studies indicate similarities in dream content across diverse cultures.
– Common emotions in dreams include anxiety, fear, and joy.
– Sexual dreams occur in about 8-10% of dreams, and the visual nature of dreams often reflects a person’s memories and experiences.

Neurophysiology and Dream Generation:
– Dream research often relies on imaging due to limitations in precision tools.
– Dreams involve the activation of numerous brain regions and pathways.
– Visual imagery in dreams is theorized to be produced by brain structures activated during sleep.
– Different dream events likely engage distinct brain regions and pathways.

Dream Interpretation Theories and Neural Mechanisms:
– Gazzaniga and LeDoux propose a left-brain interpreter, with the left hemisphere creating narratives from signals.
– Various theories emphasize dreams as sense-making processes or attempts to make sense of distorted information.
– Specific brain regions are active during dreaming, and the cortex synthesizes stories from random inputs.
– Insights from sleep research highlight the brain’s effort to interpret signals, with dream content influenced by cortical activity patterns.

Dream (Wikipedia)

A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Humans spend about two hours dreaming per night, and each dream lasts around 5 to 20 minutes, although the dreamer may perceive the dream as being much longer than this.

A painting depicting Daniel O'Connell dreaming of a confrontation with George IV, shown inside a thought bubble

The content and function of dreams have been topics of scientific, philosophical and religious interest throughout recorded history. Dream interpretation, practiced by the Babylonians in the third millennium BCE and even earlier by the ancient Sumerians, figures prominently in religious texts in several traditions, and has played a lead role in psychotherapy. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology. Most modern dream study focuses on the neurophysiology of dreams and on proposing and testing hypotheses regarding dream function. It is not known where in the brain dreams originate, if there is a single origin for dreams or if multiple regions of the brain are involved, or what the purpose of dreaming is for the body or mind.

The human dream experience and what to make of it has undergone sizable shifts over the course of history. Long ago, according to writings from Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, dreams dictated post-dream behaviors to an extent that was sharply reduced in later millennia.[clarification needed] These ancient writings about dreams highlight visitation dreams, where a dream figure, usually a deity or a prominent forebear, commands the dreamer to take specific actions, and which may predict future events. Framing the dream experience varies across cultures as well as through time.

Dreaming and sleep are intertwined. Dreams occur mainly in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. Because REM sleep is detectable in many species, and because research suggests that all mammals experience REM, linking dreams to REM sleep has led to conjectures that animals dream. However, humans dream during non-REM sleep, also, and not all REM awakenings elicit dream reports. To be studied, a dream must first be reduced to a verbal report, which is an account of the subject's memory of the dream, not the subject's dream experience itself. So, dreaming by non-humans is currently unprovable, as is dreaming by human fetuses and pre-verbal infants.

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