Friday, June 17, 2011

Do We Dream to Forget?

The late Francis Crick’s thesis was that we dream in order to forget. That is, we are not supposed to remember our dreams but, rather, we are supposed to forget them. Was he right or at least onto something?

No, simply because we do NOT forget our dreams. They do not go away, as he suggested, even if we do not consciously recall them.

Recurring dreams, for example, recur precisely because we remember them (unconsciously).

The fact that people who pay attention to their dreams come to remember them demonstrates that all of our dreams are stored in our brains just as all of our waking memories are stored in our brains.

The interesting question is whether dreams and waking memories are stored in different places or in the same place. Is there something different about the storage of waking memories and dreams that explains the difference in their recovery? Perhaps the difference has less to do with storage than it has to do with access (how we remember dreams versus how we remember waking memories), but I am not sure what that means.

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