Sleep and Dreams -PSY 140


Sleep and Dreams (please note this assignment has 2 parts)

  1. One of the most interesting portions of Chapter 5 deals with Freud and his interpretation of dreams. Here is your chance to be Freud.  Briefly describe one of your dreams and then do a Freudian interpretation of your dream.  Be sure to include the following aspects:
  • Brief Description of the Dream
  • Manifest Content of the Dream
  • Latent Content of the Dream
  1. For the second part of this assignment, conduct a brief Internet search for information on dream interpretation. According to your research, what are some alternative interpretations for your dream?  For example, were there any themes or symbols that could be significant?  Finally, explain how this interpretation differs from your Freudian analysis, and which one you believe is most valid.


Sleep and Dreams

I was resting on one of the benches at the garden in the back of the house together with my elder brother. We were having an amicable chat in the early hours of the night when all of a sudden, we heard loud thumps coming in our direction, and moving from south-north direction. My brother quickly dashed in the house leaving me on the garden, barely unable to run. My whole body felt weak and I trembled with fear. The footsteps became louder, and with time a gigantic creature, one which looked more like a giant dinosaur, came running past the house. The creature paused for a while after it came near the house, and in the nick of time continued its journey northwards. The footsteps became faint as the gigantic creature moved further and further away.

The manifest content of a dream can be described as all the literal content and all other aspects of a dream that a person recalls on waking up (Nagera, 2014). The manifest content may be stored in the memory in form of incongruous events, contradictory emotions and pictures. Thus anything that an individual can remember about the dream on waking up forms the manifest content of that dream. The manifest content of a dream is based on experiences and also fantasies. The manifest content of the dream is thus the house, the dinosaur, the garden, benches, and my brother. According to Freudian theory, the latent content of a dream is the hidden meaning of the dream (Nagera, 2014). The latent content of a dream is shadowed by the manifest content of the dream. According to Sigmund Freud theory, the latent meaning of the dream could be that I fear venturing outside at night, due to fear wild animals.

Related: RA 2: Personality Characteristics and Criminal Behavior

An internet search gives alternative interpretations to the dream, different from Freud’s assertions. Dream experts hold the opinion that dreams do have a valid purpose. According to Domhoff (2003), the meaning of dreams is related to the systematic associations and coherence of the dream. Thus, dreams portray what is on people’s minds. According to Domhoff (2003), dreams can act as a psychological portrait of various individuals by showing what has mostly been on the persons’ mind or in other words the persistent thoughts, feelings or fantasies. Dreams can give an accurate picture of what was on an individual’s mind while he/she dreamt. According to Freud, the content of the dream is related to the wishes a person aims to fulfill. In addition, the latent content, which represents unconscious wishes of an individual, is always disguised by the manifest content. This represents the difference between Domhoff’s and Freud’s understanding of dreams.

According to Jung & Hull (1980), dreams are expressions of an individual’s repressed wishes. This is similar to Freud’s interpretation of dreams but different in that Jung believed dreams expressed only the repressed wishes. Freud believed that certain symbols could be attached to unconscious thoughts, while Jung believed that symbols such as shadows and other symbolic objects represent attitudes which are inhibited by the conscious mind. The most valid interpretation is the one by Domhoff, that dreams are only a reflection of what is on an individual’s mind. The dream I had about the dinosaur was most likely the result of watching the 1993 film Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg, which features a park full of dinosaurs.


Domhoff, G. W. (2003). The scientific study of dreams: Neural networks, cognitive development,            and content analysis. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Jung, C. G., & Hull, R. F. C. (1980). The archetypes and the collective unconscious. Princeton,    N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Nagera, H. (2014). Basic Psychoanalytic Concepts on the Theory of Dreams. Routledge, Taylor   and Francis Group.


Biological Foundations of Behavior-PSY 140