Is Dreaming a Form of Survival?

Dreaming could have begun as a form of survival in the wild, according to evolutionary psychologists. Some people credit their dreams for helping solve real-life problems.

No one really knows what dreams are for. But evolutionary psychologists theorize that humans started dreaming to promote survival by "rehearsing" adaptive responses to challenges.

"In prehistory it was, 'How do I get away from saber-toothed tigers?'" says Sandy Ginsberg, an Encino psychotherapist who leads a weekly dream group and says she's had, and heard, her own share of recession dreams of late. "We're still dreaming about how to survive."

About two-thirds of people surveyed say they've solved a practical problem in dreams, adds Deirdre Barrett, a clinical psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School — perhaps because "out of the box" solutions, shown visually, can eclipse the closed circles in which our logical minds travel.

Among such people are some eminent scientists who have credited breakthroughs to the options they saw in dreams.

In 1920, Otto Loewi, who later won a Nobel Prize, dreamed about a frog experiment that would later prove nerve impulses are transmitted chemically rather than electronically, the commonly held belief at the time.

And in 1864, the chemist Friedrich Kekule discovered the structure of the benzene molecule — a paradigm-shattering closed ring — after he dreamed of tumbling atoms formed into a coiled snake biting its tail. His insight paved the way for modern organic chemistry.

Copyright: arcticle: Marilyn Elias, Los Angeles Times

Original article from:,0,7198689.story

Forward this news message:

From (Your E-mail or Name):
To (Recipient E-mail):
Notes (for the recipient):
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, and for the general purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, research and / or educational purposes only. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use this material for purposes other than provided by law. You must obtain permission from the copyright owner. For more information go to: