Image by Laura Vinck

WHAT ARE DREAMS AND HOW DO WE DECIPHER THEM?

WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF MY PROJECT?

My ignite project and how I will present it to you

In my ignite project I found myself investigating dreams and the psychology surrounding them. In doing so I found a range of different theories on why we dream and what our dreams mean. This made it a little bit difficult to produce a finished project for my research. Instead, I will discuss the typical methods that dream decipherers use and then explain what it is about dreams that make them so hard to understand. I will finally talk about if it will ever be possible to truly decipher dreams and reflect upon my ignite experience as a whole.

The theories I found and the theory I would have been using to decipher dreams

The idea that I would have been using is perhaps also the most widely accepted theory. Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist proposed that the reason we dream is to keep us asleep by removing us from reality and therefore any problems or wishes. Simply put the theory suggests that dreams protect us from waking up by disguising the things in our life that might disturb us from our sleep. Using this theory it is believed that one can determine the real meaning behind the events and objects in their dreams. This theory is not proven to be correct but for the sake of my project, it will be the ideology that I discuss. But this does not mean that it is an easy theory to use. Even if this theory is correct it is still almost impossible to truly decipher dreams.

Sleep
 
 
Misty Slopes

Why didn't it work out?

Even accepting Freud's theory the possibility of true and unbiased meaning is impossible. Ironically, a pure deciphering is still a far off dream in the world of psychology. As mentioned before the main reason for this is bias. Looking at dream dictionaries and published translations all perceived meanings will come from the experiences the author has had. Even when deciphered yourself it still leaves lacking results as your bias is just as strong. The desire to make your dream tell you what you want or think you should hear heavily impacts the purity of the whole operation. To sum up others don't rely enough on your experiences and you rely on them too heavily. With this in mind, I gave up on the idea of deciphering other's dreams and instead I have decided to discuss the problems with deciphering dreams and the other things I have learnt on my learning journey. 

Man Reaching Star
Why do we think we dream and why aren't we sure?

Freud's theory

As we have spoken about this theory I will keep the explanation short. Freud believed that the events, objects and people in our dreams represented suppressed thoughts and wants. The reason they were shown as objects was that he believed if a person thought about these ideas while asleep they would wake up.

Activation-synthesis hypothesis

This theory, a complete opposite of Freud's suggests that dreams mean nothing. It states that our dreams are made up of random thoughts and memories pulled from within our brain. The idea suggests that after we wake up we try to place a meaning or reason onto the dream because it is our natural reaction to attempt to make sense of things.

Of course, there are several other theories that are widely accepted. Most theories do not stray very far from the two theories above. The theory that dreams hide your desires and the theory that dreams mean nothing are both believable and could be true.