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The reinterpretation of dreams; The role of cognition in classical and operant conditioning - Essay Example

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Psychology Essays Course Date Essay 1: Revonsuo, A. “The Reinterpretation of Dreams: An Evolutionary Hypothesis of the Function of Dreaming.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2000), Vol. 23: 783-1121. Dreaming is a common human experience and researchers have constantly attempted to understand and explain the functioning of dreaming…
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The reinterpretation of dreams; The role of cognition in classical and operant conditioning
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Download file to see previous pages 882). As Revonsuo argues that nightmares do not support psychological theories according to which dreams serve emotional healing and adjustment problems. Revonsuo argues, however, that dream content is not as random as theorists claim. In fact, dream content is not only highly organized, but also highly selective. While dreaming occurs, the brain recreates a complicated representation of the world and these representations can either exaggerate waking world experiences of downplay them (Revonsuo 783). Revonsuo also argues that the content of dreams illustrates that dreams are mediated by specific experiences in the waking world. As a result, Revonsuo hypothesizes that dreams are therefore biological functions that serve to “simulate threatening events, and to rehearse threat perception and threat avoidance” (p. 783). Revonsuo supports his hypothesis by arguing that empirical studies consistently demonstrate that dream content is usually associated with “threatening elements” (p. 883). In other words, dreams usually involve negative experiences and rarely involve positive experiences. For example, a study conducted by Hall and Van de Castle in 1966) involved dream recollections from 500 females and 500 males between the ages of 18 and 25. The contents of the dream recollections revealed that 80% of the dream contents were negative experiences and only 20% contained positive experiences. Relying on the study conducted by Hall and Van de Castle, Revonsuo observes that a majority of the negative dreams were comprised of attacks or apprehensions of attacks from strange men or animals and in each case the dreamer either took flight or attempted to take flight or hid, or immediate arose from sleep (p. 884). Revonsuo evaluates why strange men and/or animals are the predominant threats in dream contents. Revonsuo goes back to the experiences of primitive man and notes that our ancestors existed in an environment in which animals were persistent threats. Our ancestors developed a survival instinct in which running, hiding or otherwise escaping became a staple coping mechanism. These human fears and instincts continue to haunt modern man. Dreaming simulates and perpetuates our instinctive and ancestral “threat-avoidance programs” (Revonsuo 884). Moreover, human relations were such that men often fought with one another for access to resources necessary for basic living. Although today, interactions with strange men are rarely threatening, it remains true that violence and wars are more frequently committed by males than by females. Therefore unpleasant dream contents in which strange men are the aggressor are also rooted in our ancestors’ survival instincts (Revonsuo 884). Essentially, Revonsuo concludes that dreams represent simulations of threats and that actions played out in dreams are actually representations of waking world experiences of possibilities. Dreaming about perceptions of threats and mechanisms for avoiding threats is no more than a rehearsal or simulation technique conducted in a relatively safe location: the dream world (Revonsuo). Essay 2: Kirsch, I.; Lynn, S. J.; Vigorito, M. and Miller, R. R. “The Role of Cognition in Classical and Operant Conditioning.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 4(2004): 369-392. Previously classical condition was perceived as a reflexive response to external stimuli. For example, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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