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DREAMS Theories attempting to explain the origin and functionsof REM sleep include 1 thatREM sleep provides stimulation for the development of the brain 2 thatit performs a chemicalrestoration function since during REM dreaming neuro-protein synthesis occursalong with therestoration of other depleted brain chemicals 3 that it provides oculomotoreye movementcoordination since during non-REM sleep the eyes move independently of eachother 4 that itprovides a vigilance function since REM sleep stage I is characterizedby a level ofconsciousness close to the awakened state 5 in a more recent and controversialtheory REMdreaming performs a neurological erasure function eliminating extraneousinformation build-up inthe memory system and 6 that in a more cognitive psychological explanationREM dreamingenhances memory storage and reorganization Contrary to popular belief dreaming is not caused byeating certain foods beforebedtime nor by environmental stimuli during sleeping Dreaming is causedby internal biologicalprocess Some researchers have proposed the activation-synthesis hypothesisTheirneurological research indicates that large brain cells in the primitive brainstem spontaneously fireabout every 90 minutes sending random stimuli to cortical areas of the BRAINAs aconsequence memory sensory muscle-control and cognitive areas of thebrain are randomlystimulated resulting in the higher cortical brain attempting to make somesense of it Thisaccording to the research gives rise to the experience of a dreamNow as in the past the most significant controversy centers on the questionof whether dreamshave intentional or actual personal meaning Many psychotherapists maintainthat while theneurological impulses from the brain stem may activate the dreaming processthe content ormeaningful representations in dreams are caused by nonconscious needs wishesdesires andeveryday concerns of the dreamer Thus such psychotherapists subscribe tothephenomenological-clinical or top-down explanation which holds that dreamsare intentionallymeaningful messages from the unconscious The neurological or bottom-upexplanationmaintains that dreams have no intentional meaning In between these two positionsis anapproach called content analysis Content analysis simply describes andclassifies the variousrepresentations in dreams such as people houses cars trees animalsand color though nodeep interpretation is attributed to the content Differences in contenthave been discoveredbetween the dreams of males and females and
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