The Interpretation of Early Childhood Dreams
Children’s dreams are a really interesting window into their developing minds.
Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., is a freelance science writer. From May 2003 to April 2008, she was the editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, the leading scientific journal in the field of brain research. Before becoming an editor, she did her graduate work at the University of Rochester and was a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at Yale University. She lives in northern California with her husband, a professor of neuroscience.
Children’s dreams are a really interesting window into their developing minds. There’s a group of researchers who have done dream research in children which is about as low-tech as it sounds. You put the kids to sleep, and then you come in at various times in the night and you wake them up, and you ask them what they were dreaming.
For a really small child, you ask "What was happening?" because a really little child doesn’t even know what a dream is. And what they find pretty consistently is before the age of six or so there’s almost no action in dreams. So we think of dreams as this big complicated, ridiculous story where you’re doing this and you’re doing that.
Little kids have dreams like "I was watching the cat." "I was in the bathtub." There are a lot of animals in little children’s dreams, but they’re all very passive. And a really interesting thing is that the kids who have more active dreams and more complicated dreams are the ones who have better spatial reasoning for their age. So it looks like the dreams are in some way reflecting the basic brain development, the increase and the capacity of what the brain can do, and that gets reflected in the dreams.
60 Second Reads is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller is coming back to Big Think to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.
Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer and Assistant Director for Science Communication Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more!
And this time, she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, like, "How big is the Universe?", "Am I really made of stars?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?"
All you have to do is submit your questions to the form below, and we'll use them for an upcoming Q+A session with Michelle. You know what to do, Big Thinkers!
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.
- Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
- Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
- The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
Calling all big thinkers!
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.