Definition: Researchers, philosophers, and writers have long pondered the explanations for exactly why we dream. A number of different theories have been suggested, but one of the best known is the activation-synthesis model proposed in the late 1970s by dream researchers J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley.
According to this theory, it is the activities and physiological process of the brain that lead to dreaming. During REM sleep, circuits in the brain become activated. As a result, parts of the limbic system that are associated with sensations, memories, and emotions become active as well. Our dreams, this theory suggests, are the result of our brains trying to make sense out of all these signals and internal activities. Continue reading to learn more details about the activation-synthesis model of dreaming.
One controversial issue regarding the Activation-Synthesis Model of Dreaming is that before this model of dreaming was proposed, many people though of dreams to be very meaningful and that dream portrayed greater implications. This model of dreaming gives the most scientific explanation of dreaming thus far. Although it is a scientific explanation, it does not deem dreams completely meaningless and make no psychological sense. Rather, this model of dreaming insists that one should talk about their dreams and look for the informative messages about the emotional worries of the dreamer. So although this model of dreaming insists that dreams tell us nothing about our future, when examined, our dreams can potentially tell us a lot about ourselves.