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DrmDoc last won the day on September 16 2018

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    Neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Oneirology, Brain Evolution,

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  1. It's true and I agree, these internal aspects and influences of the body do indeed affect brain function. I agree that organisms and diseases that impair or influence brain function can and do affect the quality and content of our dreams. However, IMO, these are all influences caused by factors that must somehow enter or influence the sensory systems afferently attached to the thalamus to stimulate dreaming--factors external to the brain itself. However, you've raised a compelling perspective, which I will further consider.
  2. There is this generally accepted perspective that the stimulus inspiring dream content emerges either wholely or partly from within the brain itself. My study and view of brain function suggests that this generally accepted perspective isn't entirely accurate. The view we should keep in mind is that dreaming and dream content are reactions to stimuli, which means that they are the efferent (output) product of some afferent (input) influence. There's no doubt in my mind that dream content emerges from afferent influences that arrive in the brain through the thalamus via our body's sensory array. We know that the thalamus is where all sensory data, other than olfactory, arrIves in the brain before reaching upper brain regions. We also know from comparative animals studies that these upper regions remain inactive without a neural connection to the thalamus. This neural configuration confirms the hierarchal dependency of upper brain function on the functional nature of our thalamus. As the core and most primal aspect of brain structure, the thalamus is where our reflecsive and instinctive behaviors originate. The thalamus doesn't necessarily engage a thought process as it does not appear to store the experience memories essential to that process. Other than preprogrammed, reflecsive memory, the thalamus relies on the memory store and processes of upper brain regions to attenuate and refine our behaviroal responses--which are the qualities those regions add to our dream content. Nevertheless, there are no behaviroal responses without our brain's reception of stimuli, which infers that there's no dreaming without our thalamic reaction to sensory stimuli. Given this view, it's more likely that all dreams emerge as a response to sensory stimuli in sleep that affects the thalamus--stimuli that is externally rather than internally generated.
  3. Excellent question! The only meaningful difference is the purely mental state of our existence when we are dreaming. When we are awake and aware, physical reality and material concerns dominate our brain's cognitive focus. When we're dreaming, our cognitive focus isn't as limited by physical experience as it is when we are awake.
  4. Greetings All, If you’re familiar with my postings in this Psychology Forum under MIND & CONSCIOUSNESS, you may understand my perspective on the precarious nature of our mental stability. Therefore, I urge that you not become too obsessed with your dream experiences as that may askew your perspective on experiences of real consequence to your life and wellbeing. Dreams & Meaning continued—In prior comments, I describe dreaming as our brain’s interpretive response to the sensory stimuli it perceives as we sleep. That stimuli focuses our unconscious perception in ways that can produce a miriad of dream experience. Also, in previous comments, I further described our dream content as interpretations of mental affects. However, that last description is imprecise. A more precise description of what our dream content interprets is suggest by our brain’s interpretive processes. Those processes likely involve a comparison of sensory afference (input) with memory data. Essentially, our brain assesses our current sensory experiences by comparing those experiences with its library of similar past experiences. From this perspective, dream content is a comparative assessment of the unconscious impact of our sensory experiences in sleep. I may have further to discuss on this topic. I welcome your comments and continued interest.
  5. No, I'm not accessing my dreams to find what I may already know or have forgotten. My goal is to expound on what I already know about mind, consciousness, the unconscious, and brain function. My study of dreams--not just my own--and the dreaming brain are one means among several that I have chosen to reach that goal. In my attempt to reach that goal, I have become convinced that our unconscious may have access to an immense amount of sensory afference (experience data), which could provide immeasurable insight that has escape our conscious awareness. The only way we may consciously access that insight--what we know and are capable of knowing--is through a better understanding of how this insight manifests through dreaming and dream content. I don't particularly endorse hypnosis, I think it is more harmful than helpful. However, there's considerble evidence supporting its theurapeutic benefit and there are some who are believed by many to have gained access to considerable amounts of insight, which they could not possibly know or gain otherwise ( See Edgar Cayce). I'm still on the fence about that last bit.
  6. That metaphor references everything humanity does not yet know, which is limitless in my opinion. My specific interest isn't as much about exploration as it is about enhancing what I already know.
  7. Agreed, humans are finite but I can't agree that the potential insight available to humans is also finite. If I did, I'd be like that idiot Lord Kelvin who proclaimed around the turn of last century "That there's nothing new to be discovered in physics." Obviously, Kelvin was wrong. The trove of insight available to humans may only be limited by human imagination, which has frequently proven to be boundless. Again, with clarity, my use of "universe" in my phrasing was not a reference to aliens or the universe itself. My phrasing of "universe" was as a "metaphor" for how I view the vast or expansive nature of the potential insight I believe would be available to us through the focus of our unconscious eye.
  8. Although dream content regards our psychology, not all dreams are about the deep dark recesses of the unconscious. One may have a dream that advances our society and insight without harm to one's psyche. My reference to a universe of potential insight isn't about aliens but rather about the infinite nature of that potential insight.
  9. I’ve had several discussions about the unconscious in this forum and didn’t want to make this another. However, one can’t talk about dreams and dreaming without a discussion of the unconscious and unconscious brain function. To begin, we should have a clear perspective of my view on the unconscious. In my view, the unconscious is everything about brain function and its processes below the threshold of our conscious awareness. If we are not concurrently aware of the intricate brain functions and processes comprising our conscious responses as they are happening, then those functions and processes are occurring within the realm of the unconscious. As I have previously commented, our conscious awareness and behaviors are merely the outcome of those unconscious processes in the brain that converge in response (efference) to the stimuli (afference) our brain experiences. Focusing our unconscious eye on just the “stuff in basements” is limiting, selfish, and not the only view available to that eye. The potential gain from a better understanding of the unconscious and dream content isn’t just about looking inward—it’s also about looking outward, beyond self to a universe of potential insight.
  10. What we've been doing, IMO, has been haphazard at best and more like fumbling around in the dark trying to find a switch that may or may not light the room. Indeed it does and that's a wise perspective. However, bending our unconscious to our conscious will isn't as simple as it sounds. Afterall, our conscious will and thoughts emerge from our unconscious brain function. Essentially, our conscious mind is secondary to the unconscious processes from which that mind originates.
  11. Where? If one truely understands the interpretive nature of unconscious brain function in sleep, one may potentially aquire an ability to focus their unconscious eye at will on perceiving and understanding an infinite number of affects and experiences that could have a real physical/material impact or outcome on their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
  12. I commented before about the nature of the unconscious mind and how we at once tend to ascribe too much and too little to its nature. However, through dreaming, our unconscious isn't offering any particular assistance to our conscious perceptions or problem solving, it is merely revealing some resonant mental affect influencing our brain function in sleep. When we have problem-solving dreams it is because something about our sensory experiences in sleep has focused our unconscious perception on the mental affects of the problem absorbing our conscious attention. Our dreams can provide solutions to our waking-state problems by characterizing the mental impact of those problems, which can present them in a way that provides clarity. Although dreams can provide us with clarity and ingenious invention, again with clarity, dreams are not about our unconscious mind's intent or effort to address issues involving our waking state--they are about the interpretive processes involving the resonant mental affects of the stimuli our brain detects during sleep progression.
  13. I understand why there are varying views about the nature of memory and dreaming but I think one only needs to look at the likely evolution of memory in brain function to better understand that nature. Memory most likely evolved concurrent with the cerebral development and evolution in ancestral spieces. We know from current studies in humans and contrasting animal studies that brain development is, among other things, experience dependent. This means that neural development, brain volume, and memory function are inextricably tied to real sensory experiences. It is likely that ancestral species developed memory in response to experiences that had a concurrently real physical/material impact on their survival. Although dreams are mental experiences, they do not arise concurrently with experiences that have a real physical/material impact on our survival. We know that this is particularly true because comparative studies between the dreaming and conscious brain show distinctly different patterns and levels of activation in specific brain regions. Most notably, the prefrontal cortex experiences a state of diminished activation (hypofrontality) amid dreaming, which suggests certain executive brain function are not sufficiently stimulated during the dreaming state. Essentially, our dreaming brain does not process dream experiences with the same concern and attention as it does real experiences. Our general inability to recall the details of our dreams when awake is likely because memory was not evolved for experiences that don't impact our concern and attention the way our consious, waking-state experiences do. Dreaming has as much to do with memory formatiion as fleeting emotions, which are only important for a moment. What most impacts memory is the neural connectivity of the brain and what may improve or hinder that connectivity. The glymphatic processes that occur during sleep are crucial to the neural connectivity within the brain. Dreaming actually increases interstial cell waste, which can diminish connectivity and memory formation. However, the brain's system of cleansing itself responds more efficiently during sleep progression. That response is suggested by the increasing length of dreaming that occurs as sleep progresses. I welcome your continued interest.
  14. Greetings, Dream Content & Meaning – In earlier comments, I said that dreaming was an interpretive response to “something” our brain believes it is experiencing as we sleep and that this “something” makes our dreams meaningful. So, what is this “something”? Although dreaming occurs amid sleep progression, it isn’t sleep relative to brain function. Dreaming is an active, albeit unconscious state of brain function. In other words, is a wakeful state of brain function that occurs as we sleep. This is essential to our understanding of dream content and meaning because the state of brain function while dreaming is somehow equivalent to the state we experience when we are awake and aware. If you’ve read my prior comments in this forum on MIND & CONSCIOUSNESS, you should know how homeostasis is likely a primary impetuous for brain function and that all brain activity is essentially our brain’s effort to maintain its metabolic stability against the stimuli it experiences. Dreaming is our brain’s unconscious effort to maintain its functional stability in sleep against the stimuli it experiences as we sleep. Although our dream content may not be real experiences, they are responses to real stimuli. So, what is that stimuli? As suggested in Peterkin’s response to this discussion, something as innocuous as sleeping with one’s feet uncovered may stimulate dream content. However, what we physically experience during sleep may not always generate a dream or determine what a dream ultimately interprets. For an understanding of what our dreams likely interpret consider that they are empirically mental experiences, which suggest experiences that are psychological or of the mind in nature. The texture, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and even our thoughts and feelings amidst our dreams interpret something entirely of the mind. In Peterkin’s example, the link between sleeping with one’s feet uncovered and dreaming about standing in water provides a clue to the precise nature of the mind that dream content interprets. Sleeping with one’s feet uncovered and subsequently dreaming about standing in water is equivalent to the conscious experience of smelling a freshly baked apple pie that then inspires thoughts and feelings of an earlier time in one’s life. In these examples, significance isn’t conveyed by the uncovered feet or apple pie materially but rather by the mental and emotional affects of standing in water and the recollections those wakeful experiences inspire--succintly, dream content and meaning interpret the mental and emotional "affects" of stimuli in sleep. If interest prevails and moderators permit, I will provide a bit more on the topic of dream meaning in my next post. Until then, I welcome your thoughts.
  15. Greetings, Before we proceed to a discussion of my next topic, Dreams & Memory, we should have a clear perspective of the distinction I’ve discussed between our brain and our sense of self. Our brain is an organic machine whose function is fueled by our bodily systems and informed by our body’s sensory array. Conversely, our sense of self—our individuality and personal identity—is a product and expression of that machine’s function. “We” do not exist without brain function; therefore, our personal perspective and expression does not exist without that function. Dreams & Memory—most researchers agree that dreaming serves memory function by transferring short-term memories into permanent storage. This shared perspective is rooted in an abundance of sleep and dreaming deprivation studies involving acuity observations and testing. Unfortunately, this popular and generally accepted perspective is not entirely accurate. Through sleep studies, researchers have observed sharp declines in mental acuity and memory formation of study participants when they experienced prolonged periods without sleep. Researchers have also observed the same effect when they studied interruptions in the dreaming portion of sleep solely. However, these study results are deceiving and do not provide a mechanism in brain function for the conclusions researchers have reached. What researchers have failed to consider in reaching their conclusions are the effects of interrupting the glymphatic processes that occur most efficiently during sleep progression. Glymphatic processes in the brain during sleep more efficiently remove the interstitial cell waste produced by the metabolic activity of the brain. At a rate of about 20%, our brain is the largest consumer of our body’s energy uptake. That consumption rate produces a substantial amount of cellular waste in the brain during all periods of wakeful activity, which also includes dreaming. Researchers of sleep have failed to consider and assess how experiments that interfere with the brain’s ability to remove extracellular waste may also interfere with communication between those cells. With sleep/dreaming function, the idea that memory is like removing an item from a refrigerator (short-term memory) and placing that item into a freezer (permanent memory) is imprecise. Memory is more like the path between distinct locations that must be continuously cleared of debris to not be overgrown and forgotten. In a final note on this topic, one might question if dreaming and memory are so closely tied as some researchers believe, why are our dream details difficult to remember without continual practice? As I have explained perennially, memory was evolved for experiences that had real, physical/material impact on ancestral species and dreams are not real, physical/material experiences; therefore, our dreams aren't as easy to recall as real experiences. Pending further responses to this and prior topics, my next topic will be a further discussion of dream content and meaning. I welcome your thoughts and continued interest.
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