What does a child dream?!
A new born child dreams! What does it dream about?! Dreams are supposed to be the reflections of the subconscious or physiologically speaking they can be neurobiological response which occurs during the sleep. Oneirology, the study of dreams attempts to understand the purpose of dreams to the body and mind.

But how and what adoes a child dream about is a question which is very intriguing to me. Because a newborn child wouldn't have experienced external environment except during its gestation period and its passage through the mothers womb to this world. Would like to know more and if anyone can share their knowledge it would be so good.

Of course there are many different ways of justifying a newborn child's dreams, the most common one being considering the child akin to 'god'. Hence, it is said that a child's soul is connected to the universe and it converses with it in its dreams. I am not looking for such reasons which do not stand the reason of science. Well, I was curious. After some searching found some interesting science on it.

Neurocognitive model of dreams (http://psych.ucsc.edu/dreams/TSSOD/sample.html) by Domhoff 2002 provides and analyses the neurophysiological substrate, conceptual schemes and scripts and the contents of dreams. It analyzes dreaming and dreams in these aspects among adults and children. The longitudinal study and cross sectional studies reviewed by Domhoff includes children starting at 3 years up to 15 years in different study grouping of ages. Domhoff says,

Quote:The likelihood that preschool children do not dream often or well may have implications for an unexpected finding in studies of how children come to understand imagination, pretense, and dreams. Several studies suggest that by age 3 children understand mental states and readily distinguish between the real and the imaginary. However, preschool children do less well on questions inquiring about dreams: "Whereas 3- and 4-year-olds are reported to have a sensitive understanding of the origins of imagination, early work on dreams suggests that children of this same age are quite confused about their origins" (Woolley, 1995, p. 195). Some 3-year-olds also "appeared to conceive of dreams as shared fantasies, claiming that dream content is shared between sleeping individuals" (Woolley, 1995, p. 189).

Domhoff goes on explaining how the dreaming gets better as the child ages:

Quote:Once children have the ability to dream, their linguistic and descriptive skills begin to correlate with the length and narrative complexity of their dream reports. Still, it is not until ages 11-13 that dream content shows any relationship to personality dimensions. For example, individualistic and assertive children portray themselves as more active in their dreams. Children with more violence in their waking fantasies have more aggressive interactions in their dreams, and those who display the most hostility before going to bed in the laboratory more often dream of themselves as angry. These findings on the continuity of dream content with waking thought support findings in earlier studies of children in the laboratory (Foulkes, 1967; Foulkes, Larson, Swanson, & Rardin, 1969; Foulkes et al., 1967). They suggest that dreams can reflect personal concerns and emotional preoccupations once there is an adequate level of cognitive development. As shown in Domhoff (1996) and by evidence presented throughout this book, this finding is all that remains of the large claims by Freud and Jung.
The neural maturation of young children's brains provides partial reasons for visuospatial skills and its relationship with a child's ability to cognitively report the dream. The review takes us with many hypothesis put-forth and tested on the possibility that development of dreams is related to neural network maturation.
Indeed, the fact that myelination of the inferior parietal lobules is not functionally complete until ages 5-7 may be part of the reason why dreaming is not fully developed until after that age period (Janowsky & Carper, 1996; Solms, 1999). The fruitfulness of this approach is also seen in studies showing that the presence or absence of visual imagery in blind adults depends upon whether they lost their sight before or after age 5-7 (Hurovitz, Dunn, Domhoff, & Fiss, 1999).

He concludes that chapter stating that dreams could have a neurocognitive rather than simply a neuropsychological explaination in the sense that development of the general neural system is related with the development of dreams.
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Speaking of 'What does an adult dream?', the following documentary is an eye-opener on dreams and sleep, featuring case studies of patients with 'REM Sleep Disorder' who involuntary act out their dreams (thus giving researchers a real-time window into dreams), studies on the relevance of dreams in the diagnosis of depression, findings on how dreams may actually be necessary for healthy sleep, some sobering statistical findings that there are more nightmares than sweet dreams and lots of interesting tidbits about dreams that led to flashes of insight.

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