Dreaming and interpretations have taken centre stage at different times in the study of psychology. There are many opinions that vary depending on the perspective the researcher take and the mode of study, especially data collection. I agree to Patrick McNamara’s perspective that, dreams are associated with the emotions of the dreamer. He considers the part of the brain that is active while sleeping i.e. the limbic part that (the emotional part) is activated while the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (the executive) is under activated. This is one of the most logical explanations of dreams as records mostly indicate that dreams are attached to person’s emotions. He further explains that the dreams help in processing emotional memories and integrate them in persons’ long term memories.
I also concur with many scientists who hold that dreams can help in rehearsing of anticipated challenges and threats. This is evidenced by those who are taught before they sleep tend to replicate and anticipate the potential threats in their dreams. In such a scenario, the dream shall be predicting pending threats or outcomes. This however has to be connected with a past event that the dreamer participated in consciously and/or unconsciously or passively had anticipated. On this premise, some dreams can be used in predicting of future occurrences. It is possible for one to have dreams before catching flu or a joyous event. Although this is possible, there could have been other indicators in the waking world that the dreamer ignores and are recorded unconsciously.
I also agree with Susan Krauss Whitbourne who wonders what dreams are made of. As Freud had asserted, that dreams represents person’s ugly unwanted desires commonly referred to as ‘wish fulfillment’, this could not be true. This is because not all dreams are of the unwanted desires. There are those associated with joyous events and other practical events. Although modern dream theorist belief that dreams result from the replay of fragments of person’s daily experience, there are some dreams that are entirely out of the person’s experience. Therefore, this cannot possibly be all true. However, there are events that indicate that dreams are predictors of an impending occurrence as mentioned earlier. There are at time when dreamers report events in their dreams coming to be true.
Carl Jung assertion that dreams are person’s unconscious wishes deeply buried within the psyche is also true. His belief is that dreams tend to respond to ‘archetypes’ and that, we struggle to balance person’s consciousness and person’s unconscious part of the brain. He does not explain how this balance can be achieved. It is possible to stare at something and actually not perceive it. This is a case of the departure the conscious mind can have, i.e. be distracted, and the unconscious part activated.
Do dreams really predict person’s future events? There is evidence that if one pays attention to the dreams and establishes patterns consciously, the person can predict with some degree of certainty, some of the events. This explains why some of the dreams end up been true and precise as the dream. Dream interpreters can be of help but, they need to avoid over emphasis on religious approaches because they tend to universal. This however does not guarantee the occurrence of the future events since not all events are practical. Emotional interpretations can be more reliable since most of them are from real-life experiences other than other interpretations.
However, great care has to be taken while interpreting dreams since there is no any concrete data on dream interpretation is available. As at the moment, most scientists are using fMRI that is more modern and can produce more accurate and reliable results. Until a concrete research supported by sufficient evidence, the issue of dreams remains largely a guesswork.
Susan Krauss Whitbourne. What Stuff Dreams are Made Of? 1st June, 2010