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Sofia Woodstone

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Examination of Psychology and Physiology of Dreams and Dreaming

Mankind has been evincing a keen interest in interpreting dreams recently. Evidently, examination of psychological and physiological peculiarities of dreams is needed to ensure proper understanding of the mechanisms of dreaming. Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung are considered to be the godfathers of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology. With regard to this, explaining psychological and physiological peculiarities of dreams and dreaming has proved itself to be a matter of paramount importance.

As far as the physiological peculiarities of dreaming are concerned, it is important to admit that scholars nowadays distinguish between the two stages of sleep: rapid eyes movement sleep (REM sleep) and non-REM sleep (NREM). REM sleep is relatively longer. It is characterized by a great deal of hallucinatory and awkward elements. REM sleep is thoughtful and more substantial emotionally. Motor and visual involvement is relatively higher in REM sleep. NREM sleep, in its turn, involves episodic memory to a greater extent.

Dreams and dreaming are coupled with ontology and memories. Dream’s connection to ontology is grounded mainly on people’s desire to comprehend the essence of existence. Understanding the psycho-physiological mechanisms of dreaming may potentially give insight into the functional peculiarities of the main cognitive processes. For these reasons, sleep and dreaming is an interesting and important area of investigation. Dreams can be viewed as a powerful inspirational force mostly due to the fact that a person is capable of re-enacting “the imagery of a dream”. In other words, the unique quality of dreams is that one is capable of recalling and re-experiencing the feelings and emotions one has once encountered in a dream. Reverse process takes place respectively, namely, one is capable of extrapolating the feelings and emotions once encountered in the state of wakefulness.

Sigmund Freud is one of the first scholars to investigate the psychological aspects of dreams and dreaming. Freud’s theories have a wide range of the fields of application. They range from humanities to psychology and psychotherapy. Sigmund Freud’s dream analysis is grounded on the principle of interpretive reconstructions. From modern perspectives, Sigmund Freud’s researches can be viewed as “a continuing process of filling in gaps: building bridges where none exists”. This fact, however, diminishes the merits of Freud’s research and observations by no means.

Basing on Freud’s conception of dreams and dreaming, it should be noted that a process of dreaming itself can be regarded as a lower form of mental activity. On the other hand, Freud admits that dreams “are a logical continuance” of the mental process pertaining to the waking life of humans. Physiology and mental qualities of dreams in adults and children differ. Specifically, child dreams are considered “logical and coordinate”. It happens so mainly because manifest and latent contents in children under age of four have proved themselves to overlap. In other words, children’s perception of objective reality is alien to suppressed instincts. Thus, the very nature of children’s mental processes eliminates the distortion of perceived images while dreaming.

Approximately in the middle of the twentieth century, J.A. Hobson introduced the activation-synthesis hypothesis (AS), which was later developed into activation, input, and modulation (AIM) model. Even though AS/AIM theory has proved itself to be controversial, its contribution to the study of the neurobiological peculiarities of dreaming is unequaled. Most importantly, AS/AIM gave rise to further investigation of physiology of dreams.

One of the key statements made by Sigmund Freud implies that human behaviors are shaped by emotional concerns. Consequently, dreams and dreaming are merely the reflections of emotional upheavals haunting a subject while he/she is awake. Developing this statement further, the scholars in most of their researches argue that “the purpose of dreaming is to provide the dreamer with an opportunity to deal with their dominant emotional concern”. Thus, the function of dreaming proves itself to be adaptive. It is believed that dreaming is closely connected with the REM sleep in particular. REM-sleep and dreaming are bound physiologically. Further investigation of physiology of REM sleep may potentially make a great contribution to better understanding of the nature of dreaming as such.

All in all, psychology and physiology of dreams and dreaming is an important and potentially challenging field of study. REM sleep and NREM sleep counted among the fundamental stages of dreaming differ in terms of their biological and psychological peculiarities. Dreams and dreaming began to be investigated thoroughly back in the middle of the twentieth century. J.A. Hobson explored the neuroanatomic peculiarities of sleep, whilst Sigmund Freud intended to explain the process from purely psychological perspective. Both scientists made further investigation of the mechanisms of dreaming (both, biological and psychological) possible. Further investigation of physiological and psychological qualities of dreams and dreaming consists in implementation of new technologies and methodology.

Sofia Woodstone, a blogger and a writer at https://order-essays.com/


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