While we often enjoy recalling our dreams the following day, it’s important to decipher if there’s any significance in dream meanings. There are many different theories when it comes to dream interpretation and whether they mean something, and most of those theories offer different views.
One neurobiological theory of dreaming is the Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis. This was proposed by Harvard University psychiatrists, John Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley. The theory states that dreams don’t actually mean anything. Instead they’re merely electrical brain impulses that pull random thoughts and imagery from our memories. The theory suggests that humans construct dream stories after they wake up. This is a natural attempt to make sense of it all.
However, renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud thought otherwise. He believed that dreams revealed unconsciously repressed conflicts or wishes. According to Freud, dreams are imagery of a wish or impulse from childhood that has since been repressed. This is why Freud studied dreams to understand the unconscious mind. Therefore, according to Freud, your dreams reveal your repressed wishes to you.
Another theory is the Threat Simulation Theory, which describes dreams as a defence mechanism our brains put in place to prepare us for scary events. This allows us to face our fears in a safe simulation. This theory adds that “children who live in an environment in which their physical and psychological wellbeing is constantly threatened should have a highly activated dream production and threat simulation system”. If this theory is to be believed, it could be assumed that we dream more often when in a state of fear or anxiety.
Although it’s impossible to pinpoint one theory, Loewenberg states ~
“In my experience, people are beginning to be more open to the fact that dreams are more than random misfirings of the brain, and that they are telling us something about ourselves.”
These may not be obvious links, for example, to lose your bag in a dream doesn’t mean you’re going to lose your bag tomorrow. It would more likely mean that the dreamer feels that something important to them is missing.