Deficiency Explanations of Dreams

Deficiency Explanations of Dreams

(dreams)

Deficiency explanations of dreams stress what the dream state lacks in contrast to the waking state, sometimes even characterizing dreams as superfluous to human functioning. The most extreme example of this view is the activation-synthesis model of dreaming, which sees dreams fundamentally as the product of random electrical signals generated by the brain during sleep. Sigmund Freud and the theorists in his tradition viewed dreams as important avenues for accessing the unconscious; the psychoanalytic perspective sees dreams as escape valves for infantile desires, allowing us to satisfy in disguised fantasies the instinctual urges that society judges unacceptable. The implication is that dreams are a crutch and would not occur in a society that did not set social standards at odds with instinctual urges. Both these types of explanations tend to characterize the waking state as conscious and rational and the sleeping state as unconscious and irrational, and tend to emphasize the disjunction between them.

Nondeficiency explanations of dreams, by way of contrast, view the dream state as another kind of consciousness, held together by a consciously self-regulating dream ego. According to these hypotheses, dreams are seen as “the intelligent result of some dream planning processor, as unconscious information processing, as metaphor, as a visual transduction of cognition, and as the biological basis of poetry and the imagination” (Moffitt et al., p. 202—see Sources). These alternative views also note that dreaming is not an entirely unconscious activity (e.g., there is lucid dreaming), nor is it invariably irrational. At the same time, the waking state is neither fully rational nor fully conscious.

Full browser ?