More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Unwanted Thoughts
By Carlin Flora, Psychology Today

Things we sweep under the rug and thoughts we try not to think about fill our minds while we dream.

Trying hard not to think about an old love? Don't be surprised if he stampedes through your dreams like the proverbial elephant. When subjects were told to avoid thinking about a certain someone before falling asleep, they were more likely to dream of that person than subjects asked to purposefully keep someone in mind. And, whereas Freud believed only desirable targets would assert themselves in dreams, subjects dreamed just as often of people to whom they were not attracted as they did of attractive targets.

"Things we sweep under the rug fill our minds while we dream," says Daniel Wegner, lead researcher and professor of psychology at Harvard University, which explains why smokers trying to quit, for example, tend to dream about lighting up. The study pokes holes in a popular theory that says dreaming is the brain's way of interpreting random activations. "This proves that some dreams are not random; they do come from prior content?particularly content you're trying to block out," he says.

Wegner describes the phenomenon in terms of two mental processes?one keeps the brain on task, while an opposing "ironic" system scouts out the very thoughts we are consciously trying to keep at bay. "While we sleep, the system engaged in mental control is not very operative," Wegner says, which leaves the ironic system free to take over, and release unwanted thoughts into the wild.


Kind of reminds me of 'Dont touch, Wet Paint". Of COURSE, were going to want to touch it.

Interesting article.. This interests me because of my wacky dreams lately..


wow this is interesting.

I find that many times I dream of past lost love Ken.

Sometimes I wonder how life would be had he not passed away, and times I dream that he is still here with me.

And other dreams, not too sure about those sometimes, lol. Wacky and weird. Maybe a release from the stressful life here into one that there is someone who isn't so stressful to deal with. Someone more on a happy note then not so happy all the time.

Thanks for posting this as I don't feel so strange having some of the dreams, though I don't think we have control over our dreams or sub concious thoughts and feelings that we don't sometimes realize that we have going on.
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.