NOVA | What Are Dreams?


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** What Are Dreams? **

Psychologists and brain scientists have new answers to an age-old question.
Airing June 29, 2011 at 9 pm on PBS Aired June 29, 2011 on PBS

*Program Description*

(Program not available for streaming.) What are dreams and why do we have
them? NOVA joins leading dream researchers as they embark on a variety of
neurological and psychological experiments to investigate the world of
sleep and dreams. Delving deep into the thoughts and brains of a variety of
dreamers, scientists are asking important questions about the purpose of
this mysterious realm we escape to at night. Do dreams allow us to get a
good night's sleep? Do they improve memory? Do they allow us to be more
creative? Can they solve our problems or even help us survive the hazards
of everyday life?

NOVA follows a number of scientists, including Matthew Wilson of MIT, who
is literally "eavesdropping" on the dreams of rats, and other investigators
who are systematically analyzing the content of thousands of human dreams.
From people who violently act out their dreams to those who can't stop
their nightmares, from sleepwalking cats to the rare instances of
individuals who don't seem to ever dream, each fascinating case study
contains a vital clue to the age-old question: What Are Dreams?



what are dreams

Dream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


** Dream **

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Dream (disambiguation).
"The Knight's Dream", 1655, by Antonio de Pereda

*Dreams* are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that
occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.^[1] The
content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they
have been a topic of scientific speculation and a subject of philosophical
and religious interest throughout recorded history. The scientific study of
dreams is called oneirology. Scientists believe that other mammals, birds
and reptiles, also dream.^[2]

Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of
sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake.
REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At
times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams
tend to be much less vivid or memorable.^[3]

Dreams can last for a few seconds, or as long as 20 minutes. People are
more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM
phase. The average person has three to five dreams per night, but some may
have up to seven dreams in one night. The dreams tend to last longer as the
night progresses. During a full eight-hour night sleep, two hours of it is
spent dreaming.^[4]

In modern times, dreams have been seen as a connection to the unconscious.
They range from normal and ordinary to overly surreal and bizarre. Dreams
can have varying natures, such as frightening, exciting, magical,
melancholic, adventurous, or sexual. The events in dreams are generally
outside the control of the dreamer, with the exception of lucid dreaming,
where the dreamer is self-aware. Dreams can at times make a creative


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