Recurring Dreams

Recurring Dreams

Possible explanations for recurring dreams

  • Threat simulation theory – This theory was proposed by Antti Revonsuo and states the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events and then rehearse threatening avoidance behaviors. However, this theory has come with mixed reviews. Zadra et el. found in a study on this theory that 66% of recurrent dreams contained at least one threat. For the most part, these threats involved danger and were aimed at the dreamer themselves. In contrast however, they also found that less than 15% of recurrent dreams involved realistic situations that could prove critical to one’s survival. They also found that the dreamer usually did not succeed at fleeing the threat. These provide mixed support for the theory originally proposed by Revonsuo.
  • Gestaltist dream theory – This theory views recurrent dreams as representing the person’s current state of psychic imbalance. By bringing this imbalance to consciousness through the recurrent dream, it is possible for the person to restore their self-balance.
  • Freud believed that recurrent traumatic dreams showed expressions of neurotic repetitive compulsions.
  • Jung believed that recurrent dreams played an important role in the integration of the psyche.
  • Culturalist dream theory, brought to light by Bonime in 1962, holds that recurrent dreams represent that it will most certainly come true, without a lack of positive change or development in a person’s personality.
  • Lucid dream theory holds that some people dream in recurrent form and it is a normal phenomenon.


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