Mapping the world's opinions

argument top image

< Back to question Are dream interpretations accurate? Show more Show less

Understanding dream meanings has fascinated mankind for millennia. In ancient Greece, physicians believed dreams conveyed indications of diseases present in the body. Sigmund Freud thought dreams revealed repressed desires. Since then, pop psychologists, psychotherapists and psychoanalysts have all begun offering interpretations of clients' dreams. But are dream interpretations accurate?

Dreams are informative but not predictive Show more Show less

Dreams provide information on the subconscious mind that can be illuminating.
< (2 of 3) Next position >

Dreams are memories

Dreams are memories, therefore they can be useful in interpreting our response to past events.
< (2 of 4) Next argument >


Dreams are often rooted in past experiences, places, people and events.

The Argument

Because they offer information about the dreamer's past, dreams can be useful in interpreting past experiences and measuring the body’s response to them. They can help detect trauma and provide a better understanding of our own mind. They cannot, however, provide any insight on anything in the real world, or the future.

Counter arguments

They are memories but the random nature of dreaming means that it is impossible to extract any meaningful or accurate information from them. Dreaming is essentially the process of memory consolidation. While your body is asleep, your memories stored in the hippocampus become semantic memories, which are stored in the temporal lobe. As the hippocampus sends experiences and memories to the temporal lobe, it interacts with other parts of the brain. These seemingly random interactions with semi-conscious parts of the brain cause us to have dreams.[1] This explanation for the functionality and purpose of dreaming is rooted in science. A 2007 study found that even when mice are asleep, the neocortex continues to remain active and communicates with the hippocampus. The neocortex then decides what memories must be preserved and stored as long-term memories and what must be discarded.[2] The random nature of these interactions means that even though our dreams are affected by our waking experiences and our memories, they cannot tell us anything informative. Trying to interpret someone's past from their dreams would be like trying to understand mathematics by looking at an endless sequence of random numbers. Just because memories are the building-blocks of dreams, as numbers are for mathematics, does not mean they are interpretable. As a result, no dream interpretation can contain any accuracy.


[P1] Dreams are the product of memories. [P2] Therefore, they hold information on our past experiences. [P3] When interpreted, they reveal this information and provide a deeper understanding of the individual's past.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The random nature of dreams means that we cannot interpret this information.



This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 10:09 UTC


Not sure yet? Read more before voting ↑

Explore related arguments