Stages of Sleep

Critical Thinking Questions

Freud believed that dreams provide important insight into the unconscious mind. He maintained that a dream’s manifest content could provide clues into an individual’s unconscious. What potential criticisms exist for this particular perspective?


The subjective nature of dream analysis is one criticism. Psychoanalysts are charged with helping their clients interpret the true meaning of a dream. There is no way to refute or confirm whether or not these interpretations are accurate. The notion that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” (sometimes attributed to Freud but not definitively shown to be his) makes it clear that there is no systematic, objective system in place for dream analysis.

Some people claim that sleepwalking and talking in your sleep involve individuals acting out their dreams. Why is this particular explanation unlikely?


Dreaming occurs during REM sleep. One of the hallmarks of this particular stage of sleep is the paralysis of the voluntary musculature which would make acting out dreams improbable.