Sample QuestionsA) The contents of dreams bare no relation to waking life. Discuss.
Look at the two main theories ... i.e. one that proposes that dream material is completely dependant on events from the previous few days, and the other that proposes that dream contents are antitheses to relieve, the trials of everyday life (Burdach, Fichte & Strumpell) Of the first theory, look at the two main hypotheses ... that dream content is related to experiences from the previous few days ... versus the view that dream content os related to childhood experiences.
What evidence is cited for each of these views?
Having established that dream contents appear to be related to both, what determines the experiences (from the last few days or childhood) to be represented in the dream?
Delage ... Impressions that were intense in the waking state are not represented, weaker ones are (why?)
Hallam ... Impression that were intense in the waking state, are represented in dreams.
How do these various sources of dream content interact?
Finally, look at the role of somatic sources of influence on dream content.
In conclusion, it seems that dream contents are related to waking life, both recent and childhood experiences, but of these it seems that the indifferent, weaker experiences are more likely to be represented. Furthermore somatic experiences in the sleeping state also have some influence. But, overall, the dream content is determined by wish fulfillment arising from a life event
B) To what extent does Freud propose that dreams are reflections of infantile and adult sexual instincts?
What infantile sexual instincts does Freud propose that we are subjected to? Are these instincts different or the same in adulthood? What evidence does Freud cite for the influence of these instincts in our dreams? Look for an example of a representation of sexuality in a child's dream; a representation of infantile sexual instincts in adult dreams; a representation of an adult sexual instinct in adult dreams.
Are there examples of dreams, which have no relation to sexual instincts? How reliable are Freud's interpretations of the dreams, in producing these sexual fantastical meanings?
In conclusion, Freud did see infantile and adult sexual instincts as prominent, subconscious drives in our waking lives, which are allowed to be active in our dream state as the inhibitory power of the preconscious is weakened. This reflects his theories on personality, and infantile sexuality. What implications do his findings have on modern day life, and what implications did they have at the time? To what extent could they have been accounted for by alternative explanations, if they indeed, can be said to reflect anything about the dreamer at all?
C) Why are dreams forgotten?
Quickly discuss the problems of our dependence of our data source ... that memory in recall could distort the details of dreams, so what the dream we interpret is unlikely to be an accurate account in the first place.
Look at Strumpell's five reasons for forgetting dreams How do these relate to theories of dreaming and its function? What other reasons does Freud give for the forgetting of dreams? How do these relate to the relevance of the dream content and interpretations to make from it?
In conclusion, we can see that there are various reasons for forgetting dreams, so it is remarkable that we remember them at all. Given that we do remember some, Freud proposes, implies that they must serve some important function, - reflecting our wishes and sexual instincts.
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