Crick and Mitchison (1983) expanded on Hobson and McCarley’s theory by explaining that dreams clear up our mind to stop an overload of information. They believe that the cortex is made up of connected networks, like a spider’s web, and information is recalled from these networks when required. However it malfunctions when there is too much information. To stop this overload the brain needs a system that it can clear out unnecessary information and keep important information such as how to complete a maths problem.Therefore dreams are merely just the process of our brains clearing up the mind. Crick and Mitchison (1983) explain that we shouldn’t try to recall dreams as these are what our brains are trying to remove and by recalling them they are remaining in our brains.
Contrastingly psychoanalysts like Freud explain that it is important to remember our dreams as they could help us understand our subconscious.Alternatively Dierdre Barret (1970) believes that our dreams aid us with problem solving. In 1865 Friedrich August Kekulé dreamed a snake forming a circle and biting its own tail. From this dream he realised the chemical structure of Benzene which earned him a title of nobility in Germany.In 1993 Barret conducted a study expanding on a previous study by Dement (1970). It involved asking college students to select a problem to try and solve in a dream. It was found that half of students had dreamt about their problem and one quarter had even solved it through dreaming.
There are many different theories regarding why we dream. Despite Freud’s theory being dated back to the 1900’s it is still considered one of the most dominant theories of explaining why we dream.The major criticism with dream theories is that they are unfalsifiable as there is no one way yet discovered on how we can explain or interpret dreaming. Hobson and McCarley’s activation synthesis (1977) theory and Crick and Mitchison (1983) theory of dreaming to forget are based on scientific research, unlike Freud’s work. In today’s society we are more accepting of theories or ideas which have scientific backing to them.
In conclusion, all the theories that are presented in this essay have some grounds for truth, however due to the nature of the topic it is difficult to distinguish the theories which give the best explanation of dreaming since no theory can be proven or disproven.