Are Dreams Just Brain Exercise?
Perhaps dreaming just serves to tune up the mind
Once the province of shamans, folk healers and Sigmund Freud, dream interpretation has occupied an important place in cultures the world over. Yet as Benedict Carey writes in the New York Times, a new study casts doubt on dreams' psychological significance, suggesting instead that they are a physiological exercise to keep the brain sharp--a "kind of sound check for the brain." Carey quotes the author of the study, Dr. J. Allan Hobson:
“It’s like jogging; the body doesn’t remember every step, but it knows it has exercised. It has been tuned up. It’s the same idea here: dreams are tuning the mind for conscious awareness.”
Leading Carey to ask:
What if the primary purpose of dreaming isn’t psychological at all?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.