AP Psychology : Theories of Sleep and Dreaming

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

What is the term used to describe the idea that dreams are the result of the cerebral cortex interpreting and organizing random flashes of brain activity?

Possible Answers:

Eidetic

Imprinting

Depth perception

Feature detection

Activation synthesis

Correct answer:

Activation synthesis

Explanation:

This theory of dreaming was first proposed by Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley in 1977. According to the theory of activation synthesis, circuits in the brain are activated during REM sleep. These brain circuits, in turn, help to activate areas of the limbic system. All of this internal activity is synthesized and interpreted by the brain. The signals are then given meaning via dream states.

Example Question #2 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Which of the following is now widely considered to be the most accurate dream theory?

Possible Answers:

Dreams are a collection of our hopes and fears. They are a place where we can subconsciously act out what it would be like if our greatest hopes and fears came true. For instance, we process our fear of dying through nightmares where we are chased or under threat.

Dreams should be widely disregarded as random occurrences that have nothing to do with significant emotions or memories. They occur when we get high-quality sleep that results in an abundance of higher mental functionality.

Dreams are the result of random electrical firings in our brains in regions that process memories. The reason dreams seem like stories is that our waking mind tries to make sense of them through a coherent narrative.

Dreams are a collections of our repressed fears, desires, and emotions stemming from our current or past memories. They can represent repressed moments of anger and frustration towards our caregivers, or sexual feelings towards other people.

Correct answer:

Dreams are the result of random electrical firings in our brains in regions that process memories. The reason dreams seem like stories is that our waking mind tries to make sense of them through a coherent narrative.

Explanation:

The most pervasive theory of dreaming is that dreams are a result of electrical impulses in our brains that occur only while we sleep. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley came up with this theory in 1973, and proposed that the reason why dreams have come to garner so much meaning for people is that our waking minds will give them a narrative. In other words, our actual dreams are not stories; they are instead random memories strung together. When we wake up, we try to make them into stories that make sense to us.

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Who was originally responsible for creating the psychoanalytic approach to dream theory?

Possible Answers:

Carl Jung

Allan Hobson

Abraham Maslow

Sigmund Freud

Correct answer:

Sigmund Freud

Explanation:

Sigmund Freud is the founder of dream theory. He approached dreams from a psychoanalytic perspective, which posits that most of our actions are the result of repressed feelings and desires. Freud thought these feelings and desires came out unrestricted in our dreams.

Example Question #4 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Which belief was commonly held by ancient or older civilizations in history?

Possible Answers:

Dreams are portals to an entirely different world we cannot access in waking life

Dreams represented messages that ancestors wanted to convey to living heirs to help teach life lessons

Dreams are unnecessary and frivolous, and should be ignored

Since everyone was widely considered to be possessed by at least a few demons, dreams represented messages from these demons 

Correct answer:

Dreams are portals to an entirely different world we cannot access in waking life

Explanation:

Many older civilizations believed that dreams were metaphysical experiences wherein the soul was transported from the body to a completely different realm or spiritual plane.

Example Question #5 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

What is the difference between the physiological and psychological theories of dreaming?

Possible Answers:

Physiological theories claim that dreams are a product of neural firing in the brain. Psychological theories claim dreams are a way for the brain to correct some kind of existing disorder.

Physiological theories claim that dreams are a product of some kind of existing disorder in the brain. Psychological theories claim dreams are a way of processing issues in our lives.

Physiological theories claim that dreams are a product of neural firing in the brain. Psychological theories claim dreams are a way of processing issues in our lives.

Physiological theories claim that dreams are a product of processes in the body that the brain interprets when we sleep. Psychological theories claim dreams are a way of processing issues in our lives.

Correct answer:

Physiological theories claim that dreams are a product of neural firing in the brain. Psychological theories claim dreams are a way of processing issues in our lives.

Explanation:

Physiological theories claim that dreams are a product of neural firing in the brain, which can sometimes, according to some theorists, aid in the process of learning. This is why it is recommended to get good sleep before a test!

Psychological theories claim dreams are a way of processing issues in our lives, founded in Freud's initial dream theory, which posited dreams as ways we process repressed feelings and desires.

There are many who believe dreams are a combination of both theories; they are random, but still serve some purpose.

Example Question #6 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Bed wetting and night terrors occur during which stage of sleep?

Possible Answers:

Stage 4

Stage 1

REM

Stage 2

Stage 3

Correct answer:

Stage 4

Explanation:

Stage 4 sleep is referred to as delta sleep, or deep sleep. It is very hard to wake someone in this stage of sleep. Unlike REM sleep, there are no eye or muscle movements. This is the time during which young children may wet their beds and/or experience night terrors.  

Example Question #7 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

A patient is slightly overweight and has trouble sleeping. He keeps waking up gasping for air, disrupting his sleeping patterns. What is the most likely diagnosis for this patient?

Possible Answers:

Sleep apnea

Night terrors

Hypnagogic jerks

Narcolepsy

Insomnia

Correct answer:

Sleep apnea

Explanation:

Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses or lack of breathing when sleeping. A lack of oxygen to the brain causes a buildup of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Accumulated carbon dioxide causes the person to wake up, gasping for air. Normal breathing upon wakefulness will allow normal oxygen flow until the person falls back asleep. Sleep apnea is more common among middle aged and overweight individuals. While genetics play a significant role, those with enlarged tonsils, allergies (which may cause swelling of the throat), sinus problems, or enlarged necks are also at risk of sleep apnea.

Example Question #8 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Memory encoding occurs during which sleep stage?

Possible Answers:

REM, using delta waves

Stage 4, using delta waves

Stage 1, using theta waves

REM, using theta waves

Stage 2, using sleep spindles

Correct answer:

REM, using theta waves

Explanation:

Memory is encoded during REM sleep. In the hippocampus, neurons fire four times as opposed to once as a result of ponto-geniculo-occipital (PGO) spikes. Memories from a day's activities and learning are encoded in the hippocampus four times, contributing to long-term memory. Theta waves are also associated with this stage of sleep and contribute to REM's restorative nature.  

Example Question #9 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Dreams occur in which stage of sleep?

Possible Answers:

Sleep spindles

REM sleep

Delta sleep

REM rebound

Sleep onset

Correct answer:

REM sleep

Explanation:

REM sleep (or Rapid Eye Movement) is the stage in which dreams occur, because even though the body is essentially paralyzed, this stage is accompanied by intense activity in the brain. 

Example Question #10 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Which of the following is not a theory on the function of sleep?

Possible Answers:

Sleep promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep helps consolidate our memories.

Sleep supports proper growth.

Sleep was an adaptive strategy to prevent an animal from being awake when it was most hazardous.

Sleep promotes brain restore and repair.

Correct answer:

Sleep promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Explanation:

The term "healthy lifestyle" may be broadly defined from culture to culture. While sleep is healthy and good for the body, too much sleep may also be detrimental, or a sign of severe depression. This answer choice is too broad, and not specific enough in its limitations on sleep, to be accurate.

All the other answers are well known theories about the function of sleep.

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