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What Causes Us to Dream?

Studies Conducted:

The Sleep Stages:
Studies Conducted:
Work Cited

  In 2004, Claudio L. Bassetti and his co-workers at the University of Bern conducted a study on a women who had lost her ability to dream. At the age of 73, this woman had had a stroke in her occipital lobe, located in the back area of the brain. This being the area that controls visual information, the patient suffered symptoms related to sight. Not only did she have vision problems, but she had also lost her ability to dream. This showed Bassetti that dreams originate in that area of the brain. After a while, the woman's sight returned to normal but her ability to dream did not. When someone loses the ability to dream it is known as Charcot-WIlbrand syndrome. However, it is extremely rare for someone to lose the ability to dream and not have other symptoms following it. Bassetti decided to do further research on the woman and monitored her brain waves while she slept. They found that even though she wasn't dreaming, she was still entering REM sleep. This showed researchers that REM and dreams originate in different areas of the brain.(

  Foulkes is a researcher who studied the dreams of children. He kept track of the dreams children had from ages three to fifteen. His research showed him that children who were three to four had dreams with little emotion and not alot of action. Also, they often dreamt about animals or playing in places they've been before. Children who were ages five to six typically had dreams about family members or friends. They had more action and movement taking place in their dreams. Another important fact about this age group was the different themes that occured between genders. The girls dreamt mostly about friendly and pleasent things, whereas the boys dreamt about conflicts and unhappy encounters. In the seven and eight year old children, there was no longer a difference in the mood of their dreams. Both genders had equal amounts of happy and unhappy dreams. The nine through eleven age group had dreams that were solely based around themselves. Around age twelve, both genders dreamt mainly about school, home, or the outdoors. Also, they had family members and friends in their dreams with them. A major difference in this age group was that the boys tended to have dreams about unknown male figures. Also, the boys tended to have aggressive dreams more often than girls. Foulkes research concluded that children's dreams are a reflection of their personal development and sexual identity along with what goes on in their real world environment.(Borbely, 52)

My Studies:

  For my own study, I observed someone while they slept. I noted any movement they had made while sleeping and then compared them to the functioning of our brains. By doing this I was able to discover what portion of the brain that person was using while they slept.
  My subject for observation is a 16-year-old male. All movements were recorded once although some of them occured several times. Each movement is color coded than marked on the map for the portion of the brain it needed to occur.

Movement of Subject:
Turns over-Blue
Kicks foot-Green
Gets up into kneeling position-Purple
Points Index Finger-Yellow
Lays back down-Purple
Than subject falls into a deep sleep


Information obtained and presented by Nicki McFarlane