Dream history
The Interpretation of Dreams

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Dream history

Centuries ago, people in many cultures believed dreams were presented by an outside force and intended to serve as oracles or omens. Later, people theorized that dreams were caused by anxiety, household noises, and even indigestion. Dreaming is certainly a mysterious process: Images float by, often at lightning speed, improbable events seem commonplace, people from our past emerge, people we have never met become our close friends or bitter enemies. A concentrated effort in dream research since 1952 has netted some concrete results, enabling us to define dreaming as a psychophysiological (or mind-body) process and to begin to understand the role dreams play in basic human functioning. The prevailing notion, based on psychological research and scientific study, is that dreams are our own inventions, born of a mind that remains fully activewith brain waves racing and five senses perceivingeven as we slumber in relative physical calm. Here is the definition that scientific research has given us: A dream is a period of spontaneous brain activity usually lasting from about five to forty minutes that occurs during sleep several times a night, usually at about ninety-minute intervals.

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