A Neuroanatomical Framework for Understanding Dream Content
Calvin Kai-Ching Yu
Sleep and Hypnosis: A Journal of Clinical Neuroscience and Psychopathology 2016;18(4):82-91
The neurostructural model of dreaming avers that dreams are actively generated by the neural network formed by the mesolimbic-dopaminergic pathway, the ventromesial-orbitofrontal cortex, and the inferomesial temporal-limbic-occipital pathway as a result of the disengagement of the frontal convexity. Although the narrative content of dreams usually appears to be uncanny and unintelligible, there are typical dream themes that are similarly experienced by most people. On the other hand, some common waking-life activities that entail prefrontal executive functions rarely emerge in dreams. The cross-cultural resemblance of prevalence profiles for typical dream themes suggests that the formation of dream images is regularly biased toward a specific group of themes and is operated on by highly stable mechanisms and predispositions. In this article, I propose that the functional architecture of dreaming as depicted by the neurostructural model can provide a framework for understanding these predispositions.
dopamine, dream content, dream themes, neuroanatomical correlates, typical dreams