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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scientists are not exactly sure what the purpose of dreams are and there are many theories. Some scientists believe that dreams are "remnants of our Neanderthal past, when our ancestors used dreams as a training ground for for developing appropriate reactions to life and death situations." Other scientists that dreams are a way of emotionally coping with what has happened in our daily lives while others think that dreams hold no significance whatsoever.

Humans may never discover the actual biological function of dreams. While many theories of dreams as an opportunity to reorganize one's thoughts and to solve problems sound feasible, it is difficult to prove anything conclusively, due to the relative youth of neurobiology and the shadowy nature of dreams themselves. As our general understanding of the brain develops, scientists may be better able to understand why we dream.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous thoughts are quite valid.  In this light, the study of Sigmund Freud might be appropriate here.  To succinctly address it, Freud believed that our dreams hold much in way of understanding our own senses of self, our desires, and our state of being in the world.  In a constant battle between who we are and what social expectations tell us to be, Freud believed that dreams were the only release for this and the development of psychotherapy was a field devoted to "talking out" the exploration of these dreams.  In this light, dreams are designed as elements that can better understand who we are and what is inside the deep and intricate crevices of our psyches.  Dreams become the one realm where we are "free" to reflect these realities that might be tucked away from the social perception of others, and perhaps, even ourselves.  In this light, dreams serve a vitally important purpose.

anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dreams are the attempt of the mind to deal with experiences people have had, usually in the recent past. Dreams are part of the subconscious, over which we have no control. If a person is bothered by something, the subconscious attempts to organize that worry into another scenario. Many dreams can be interpreted through psychologists analyzing the patient's imagery in sleep. A common dream deals with appearing in one's underwear in front of a large group of people. Psychologists believe this shows a subconscious feeling of inadequacy in some aspect of the dreamer's life. Dreams are part of the sleep cycle needed for humans to adequately deal with everyday life. This sleep cycle is called REM sleep.