Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there any specific reason behind why we dream. Why sometimes we are getting wierd and unusual dreams. Sometimes we cant even recall what we dreamt off. Why this happens?

share|improve this question
1  
There're so many theories...personally, I think dreaming is the brain trying to defragment, going over the past memories and getting rid of the connections that are not deemed as important. And this process of memory consolidation is seen as a dream. This explains why we often dream about the things that has happened during the day. –  dayuloli Feb 14 at 5:46
    
This question might be a better fit on CognitiveScience.SE –  Remi.b Feb 17 at 7:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Recent scientific research suggests that dopaminergic pathways are responsible for dreaming. According to this theory if something affects your dopamine system, it will also affect dreaming. My personal takeaway from this is that your dreaming can be viewed as an indicator of how your dopaminergic system works. Significant deviations from the baseline dream content may be a reaction to drugs, especially psychiatric drugs or changes in diet. These changes rarely persist for many days, as the brain compensates for the new thing.

A dopaminergic pathway runs from the ventral tegmental area, ascends through the lateral hypothalamus, various basal forebrain areas (nucleus basalis, stria terminalis, shell of nucleus accumbens) and terminates in the amygdala, anterior cingulate gyrus and frontal cortex. Damage to the dopaminergic pathway results in a loss of dreaming. Furthermore, chemical stimulation of the pathway (with L-DOPA for example) increases the frequency and vividness of dreams without affecting REM sleep.[10] It is interesting to note that the mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways are considered the seeking areas or the motivational command centers of the brain.

And

The evidence of the involvement of mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic pathways suggests that dreaming occurs when a motivational component is activated.

share|improve this answer

Well i will like to contribute a fact which might seem a little bit out of context. R P Feynman, the famous physicist, in his semi-autobiographical book mentioned his experiments with his consciousness and also 'dreams'. He reported that he was actually able to alter his dreams, with a little bit of practice, while he was experiencing them. Well after reading that i was quite fascinated with the possibilities and tried it myself to a fair amount of success.

Moreover although the exact mechanism or motivation of sleep hasn't been understood it is generally accepted that 'dreams' always occur in the REM stage of sleeping. In light of the 'Restorative theory of sleep',which basically says that sleep happens to make up for all we lose during daytime, i can say that dreams are actually a byproduct of the fact that maintenance of brain cells occurs by a different pathway than normal body maintenance. So all in all saying that the 'Waking up' part of our body isn't perfect and almost everytime one part of brain 'Wakes up' before the other and contributes to the bizarre yet frequent phenomena of 'Dreams'.

share|improve this answer
1  
A couple comments: about 75% of dreaming occurs in REM, but REM is not a requirement for dreaming. The term for conscious control of dreaming is "lucid dreaming", and potentially "dream incubation" for intentionally dreaming about a certain thing –  Alex Stone Mar 10 at 19:53

This is a difficult question to answer because we are only aware of basic mechanisms that go on in the brain during dreaming. One theory that is prevalent during sleep is that we may be replaying the day's events in order to extract and store the important information encountered. So if you block sleep after learning you can interfere with it. The function of dreaming itself is more speculative but one idea is that all that replaying back of sensory information along with normal conscious processes creates vivid imagery that is strange and new.As you know during REM the brain is very active so it can "perceive" as if it were awake. This answer is mostly directed at how we dream but hopefully you've gleamed some additional insight from it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.