The Complete Companions: A2 Student Book For AQA A Psychology

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REM sleep:

  • Crick and Mitchinson (1983) proposed that during REM sleep, unwanted memories are discarded, making more important memories accessible.
  • Recent research on sleep and memory has found a complex relationship between the two (Stickgold, 2005). Evidence currently suggests that REM sleep may be important in the consolidation of procedural memory (memory of skills).
  • REM sleep is where the dreams are said to occur, yet there is more evidence suggesting that semantic memories (memory of meaning of things) and episodic memory (memory for events) are consolidated during SWS sleep. This goes against my question of whether there is a link between daily life and dreams. However, as SWS sleep is one of the primary stages of sleep, it could be argued that the memories are consolidated here before being transferred into REM sleep when we dream.

Different stages of sleep and how your sleep is affecting your health.:

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Explanations of sleep walking:

  • Sleep walking is a disorder of arousal – the person is partially awake in the sense that they are engaged in activities normally associated with being awake, bu they are also asleep. They are in SWS sleep (deep sleep) which makes it difficult to rouse the sleeper.
  • Recordings of the brain show mixed waves between deep sleep and the awake state, meaning that sleep walking occurs when a person in deep sleep is awakened but the arousal of the brain is incomplete.
  • Sleep deprivation, alcohol, fevers, hormonal changes (puberty and menstruation), stress or psychiatric conditions are factors that can increase the likelihood of sleep walking. The fact that not everyone who suffers from an of these factors sleep walks indicates that some individuals may have inherited a vulnerability for sleep walking.
  • Sleep walking is more common in childhood. An example of an explanation for why is because they have more SWS sleep than adults. Another is that: the system that normally inhibits motor activity in SWS sleep is not sufficiently developed in some children, and it also may be underdeveloped in some adults.
  • Sleep walking is not associated with dreaming (some people believe sleep walking occurs to act out a dream). The fact that sleep walking occurs during SWS sleep rather than REM sleep shows there is no link between sleep walking and dreaming.

These notes provide some scientific research into some reasons why we have dreams and there connection (or lack thereof) to sleep walking. Sleep walking was an element of dreaming I wanted to explore for the common misconception that sleep walking is connected to dreams, however, I have learned that there is no likely connection between the two. I intend to do further research into other psychologist’s interpretation of our reasons for having dreams to help me conclude my own concept question and formulate my own answer.

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