Oneirology: The Science Behind Dreams And Causes Of Them
Defining dreams may seem as a New Age hobby. However, there is a field of science many people don’t know. The scientific field of oneirology is the scientific study of dreams. Scientists in this field research to find correlations between dreams and knowledge about brain function. An extension of this is to gain knowledge about forming memories and mental, or psychological, disorders. Oneirology is different from dream analysis in that dreams are objectively study processes behind the dreams.
Research in this field delves into the mechanics of dreams and dreaming. Things that influence dreams and disorders that may affect dreams are also studied. In this respect, oneirology overlaps with neurology. The physical matter of the brain has to be taken into account. This is to discount, or attribute, physical anomalies before pinning irregularities on psychological issues. Quantifying dreams and brain analysis are the foundation in this field. The study the use of drugs and neurotransmitters, and their effects on sleep and dreaming are also considered.
It is known that dreaming occurs mainly during REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. This stage of sleep is marked by the random movements of the eyes. It is theorized that REM sleep is when the body and mind rest the most effectively. Although not the only time for dreams to occur, but most dreaming occurs in REM sleep. The brain itself allows brain waves to self-fire, albeit at a low rate. It is now that new memories commit to long-term, and old memories are reinforced.
To enforce the scientific nature of oneirology, dreams are defined in four parts. They are as follow;
A) A mode of thinking internally. In other words, with minimal brain activity and with external stimuli blocked.
B) An experience, although not necessarily so, is believed to be experienced through the senses.
C) Something that the dreamer, or ‘research participants’, remember.
D) The dreamer has some form of interpretation of the occurrence onto itself.
There are two generic types of dreams, the authentic dream and the illusory dream. The authentic is seen to be from the “realm of experience”. In other worlds, it is of relation to the ‘real’ material world. A dream creating a familiar frame of reference, and reflects their life and world. The illusory contains the bizarre and even the impossible. This type can be related to delusions, such as ones exhibited in mental disorders.