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Author Topic: why can we imagin pictures in our mind even if we cant physically see them??????  (Read 4691 times)

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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i have always wondered why we can dream and imagin about things that are not physically there, how can our mind do this??? ???


 

Offline Seany

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Umm.. That's interesting. I've never thought of anything like that. Maybe we do not actually imagine them. Maybe we deform things which we have seen in our lives? Say we look at a fridge, maybe we deform that somehow in our minds to make it look like an alien or something? I'm not sure..
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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hmm, interesting idea, but how is it dat we're able to speak another language in our dreams or see people in our dreams that we have never come across in our lives???
 

Offline Seany

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Hmm. Maybe we have come across them somewhere in our lives? Like, if you just have a glimpse at them in town or something. You don't think you remember, but you have actually seen it. I think the brain plays tricks on us, and doesn't actually remember the image clearly, resulting in us thinking that we have never seen them before.
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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yesss, that does makes sense.
 

Offline Seany

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I'm not sure, it's just a guess of mine. But I think the imaginations seem like imaginations, but are actually somehow using our memory in which we have already seen.
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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its sounds reasonble since there cant possibly be a way of producing an imagination fom nothin; well as far as i kno that is!!!
 

Offline Seany

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Hmm you think? But the word "imagination" means to produce something from nothing isnt it?
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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well i always thought imagination starts from somthin and is then developed. its like putting different pieces of very different things together to produce a new thing in this case an imagination
 

another_someone

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hmm, interesting idea, but how is it dat we're able to speak another language in our dreams or see people in our dreams that we have never come across in our lives???

How do you know you can speak another language in your dreams?

Your dreams tell you that you are speaking another language (e.g. Klingon) - but all you know is that you believe you are speaking Klingon, you do not actually make any sounds in that language, so you have not actually spoken the language.

All you are doing is short circuiting the need to actually process language, because you have not uttered the words, so have not heard the words, so you have not had to understand or speak the language.  All you brain has told you is that you have understood an idea, and it has also told you that the idea was spoken in Klingon, but has not actually had to worry about what Klingon actually sounds like.
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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when i was learning to speak english, durin the first afew days, i started dreaming in English, i was Literally speaking in English, same with when i was learning spanish!!!
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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perhaps i should just add that at the beginning i didnt know many words but in my dreams i was speaking fluent English, how is that possible??
 

paul.fr

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when i was learning to speak english, durin the first afew days, i started dreaming in English, i was Literally speaking in English, same with when i was learning spanish!!!

i would suspect that your dreams were relevant to the days events and what was on your mind as you were in bed waiting to fall asleep. dreams, in my opinion, are either fantasies, reliving good or bad memories, or replaying what has been on our mind that day.
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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hmm, very true. but i'm still kept wondering about the function of the brain which allows us to do somthing or rather imagin somthing which is either impossible or we have never come across, speaking another language is just one of the very examples.
 

paul.fr

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Ernest Hartmann, a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass., explains.
The questions, "Why do we dream?" or "What is the function of dreaming?" are easy to ask but very difficult to answer. The most honest answer is that we do not yet know the function or functions of dreaming. This ignorance should not be surprising because despite many theories we still do not fully understand the purpose of sleep, nor do we know the functions of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when most dreaming occurs. And these two biological states are much easier to study scientifically than the somewhat elusive phenomenon of dreaming.

 
Some scientists take the position that dreaming probably has no function. They feel that sleep, and within it REM sleep, have biological functions (though these are not totally established) and that dreaming is simply an epiphenomenon that is the mental activity that occurs during REM sleep. I do not believe this is the most fruitful approach to the study of dreaming. Would we be satisfied with the view that thinking has no function and is simply an epiphenomenon--the kind of mental activity that occurs when the brain is in the waking state?
Therefore I will try to explain a current view of dreaming and its possible functions, developed by myself and many collaborators, which we call the Contemporary Theory of Dreaming. The basic idea is as follows: activation patterns are shifting and connections are being made and unmade constantly in our brains, forming the physical basis for our minds. There is a whole continuum in the making of connections that we subsequently experience as mental functioning. At one end of the continuum is focused waking activity, such as when we are doing an arithmetic problem or chasing down a fly ball in the outfield. Here our mental functioning is focused, linear and well-bounded. When we move from focused waking to looser waking thought--reverie, daydreaming and finally dreaming--mental activity becomes less focused, looser, more global and more imagistic. Dreaming is the far end of this continuum: the state in which we make connections most loosely.

Some consider this loose making of connections to be a random process, in which case dreams would be basically meaningless. The Contemporary Theory of Dreaming holds that the process is not random, however, and that it is instead guided by the emotions of the dreamer. When one clear-cut emotion is present, dreams are often very simple. Thus people who experience trauma--such as an escape from a burning building, an attack or a rape--often have a dream something like, "I was on the beach and was swept away by a tidal wave." This case is paradigmatic. It is obvious that the dreamer is not dreaming about the actual traumatic event, but is instead picturing the emotion, "I am terrified. I am overwhelmed." When the emotional state is less clear, or when there are several emotions or concerns at once, the dream becomes more complicated. We have statistics showing that such intense dreams are indeed more frequent and more intense after trauma. In fact, the intensity of the central dream imagery, which can be rated reliably, appears to be a measure of the emotional arousal of the dreamer.

 
Therefore, overall the contemporary theory considers dreaming to be a broad making of connections guided by emotion. But is this simply something that occurs in the brain or does it have a purpose as well? Function is always very hard to prove, but the contemporary theory suggests a function based on studies of a great many people after traumatic or stressful new events. Someone who has just escaped from a fire may dream about the actual fire a few times, then may dream about being swept away by a tidal wave. Then over the next weeks the dreams gradually connect the fire and tidal wave image with other traumatic or difficult experiences the person may have had in the past. The dreams then gradually return to their more ordinary state. The dream appears to be somehow "connecting up" or "weaving in" the new material in the mind, which suggests a possible function. In the immediate sense, making these connections and tying things down diminishes the emotional disturbance or arousal. In the longer term, the traumatic material is connected with other parts of the memory systems so that it is no longer so unique or extreme--the idea being that the next time something similar or vaguely similar occurs, the connections will already be present and the event will not be quite so traumatic. This sort of function may have been more important to our ancestors, who probably experienced trauma more frequently and constantly than we (at least those of us living in the industrialized world) do at present.

Thus we consider a possible (though certainly not proven) function of a dream to be weaving new material into the memory system in a way that both reduces emotional arousal and is adaptive in helping us cope with further trauma or stressful events
 

another_someone

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when i was learning to speak english, durin the first afew days, i started dreaming in English, i was Literally speaking in English, same with when i was learning spanish!!!
perhaps i should just add that at the beginning i didnt know many words but in my dreams i was speaking fluent English, how is that possible??

Were you speaking fluent English? I doubt it.  You dreamt you were speaking fluent English, that is true; but you actually uttered not a word of any language, so you actually were not dreaming in any language at all.

If you think of your brain as having separate departments, each responsible for different functions.  In ordinary life, there is a department in your brain that is responsible for interpreting the sounds of language, and writing a summary report to the next department that gives a summary of the meaning of the sounds that were heard.  When you are dreaming, you don't hear these sounds, so the report that department sends out is total fiction it just sends out an explanation of the meaning of the words it claims to have heard, but it really never heard a single word (it could not have heard anything, because there was no sound to hear).  If it did not hear the words, then the words had no language at all, only a meaning which your brain invented, but in the absence of any words.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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The answer lies in the way our brain works.  The brain appears to be a general purpose model building programme.  It uses information derived from our senses to build models of the world around us and to refine these models through experience.  These models are then used in a predictive way to conrol our reactions.  A good example of this is catching a ball that has been trown to us.  Our experience allows us to predict where the ball will be at various times and to move our hands to a position that will catch it.

Our imagination is therefore just our brain running through a few models based on either experience or alternative parameters.  we can look at some objcts on a table from the level of the table and looking down from the top we can then look at a house and imagine what it would look like from above using our experience of the objects on the table even though we can't normally get into the position to look at the house from above.

Everything we "see"  and "hear"  is part of a very complex model we call consciousness.  it is quite simple to prove this.  Look around you you will see the room and the computer you are currently using.  now reach out and pick up any object that is conveniently close to you.  the image on the retina of your eye that enabled you to do this is very small and inverted and nothing like what you saw  what you are looking at is not reality it is an image in your mind of "reality"  fortunately for most of us this does coincide wwel with what is actually there but when the models get mixed up it can be very unpleasant.
 

Offline Negin -(Universe)

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paul.fr thank you for the passage you you've posted. it explains dreaming in a very interesting way. I got the impression that dreaming could actually be an emotional healer in the long term taking care of all our emotional matters.

another-someone your explanation of our brain not hearing sound makes perfec sense now that i actually think back to my dreams. thank you, your explanation helped alot.

i also very much like the idea of Soul Surfer. I have never thought of seeing as seeing whats just actually an illusion of an object. well may be not an illusion but certtainly not real. so would it then be sensible to cliam that we live in a world of unrealities???
 

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