Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dreams are random firings of neurons

the about.com site has a featured article today regarding Freud and his dreams.

Let's get a few things straight:

  1. The interpretation of dreams has no reliability or validity as an assessment or intervention technique
  2. Dreams are just random firings of neurons.

Our brains operate on a constructivist model, where it seeks out to organize disparate events and happenings into a coherent whole. See for example many of the conspiracy theories from JFK to a second shooter in the VA Tech shooting.

So, if someone is made to visualize certain people and hear certain voices in their sleep due to random firingsof neurons, the brain will seek to organize it into a whole, a story, a gestalt. The story is for all intents and purposes, meaningless.

2 comments:

greg said...

I agree..but maybe i'm missing something. The about.com article is a review of the book as a historical work...not an argument for its scientific validity.

Andrew Livanis said...

to a degree, you are correct, and perhaps this posting is partially just firing off some steam.

However, about.com has never reviewed a book due to its "cultural impact", especially in the psychology section.

The books that I have seen reviewed tend to be self-help books or parenting resources.

By reviewing a book like this (BTW - it is a review for the public domain version of he book), the site is giving implicit approval to its content.

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