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 #11 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

At what stage of sleep can an EEG pick up delta waves?

Possible Answers:

NREM-3

NREM-1

NREM-2

REM

NREM-4

Correct answer:

NREM-3

Explanation:

Out of the 4 stages of sleep, NREM-1, NREM-2, NREM-3, and REM, the third stage is where the brain will emit delta waves. These waves are large and slow, as such, this stage of sleep is also known as slow-wave sleep. It is during this stage where it may be difficult to wake someone up.

Example Question #12 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

During which stage of sleep is dreaming said to occur?

Possible Answers:

NREM-3

REM

NREM-2

Stage 0

NREM-1

Correct answer:

REM

Explanation:

Dreaming has been observed during REM sleep. Brain waves at this stage resemble the brain waves of an individual who is awake. The person's heart rate will increase as well as his or her breathing. Every few seconds, the individual's eyes may be observed darting from side to side. This movement signifies the beginning of a dream.

Example Question #13 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

One sleep theory is that "sleep protects." What is meant by this theory?

Possible Answers:

Sleep alone allows for proper homeostasis.

A species' sleep cycle will be best suited for it's ecological surroundings.

A species' sleep cycle is organized to provide optimal recuperation after a long day.

Sleep allows for protection from foreign invaders and pathogens.

A species' sleep pattern facilitate the protection of its descendants.

Correct answer:

A species' sleep cycle will be best suited for it's ecological surroundings.

Explanation:

While the recuperation explanation may seem like a good answer, it cannot be considered a theory on its own.

"Sleep protects" is a theory that a species will adjust its sleep pattern in a manner where it is optimal given that species niche, or environmental context. For instance, if an animal has a limited ability to hide from its predators, it may sleep less.

Example Question #41 : Consciousness

Which of the provided theories related to the function of dreams would Freud most likely to support?

Possible Answers:

The function of dreams is to reflect upon cognitive development 

The function of dreams is to file away memories 

The function of dreams is to understand neural static 

The function of dreams is to satisfy our own wishes 

The function of dreams is to create and maintain neural pathways

Correct answer:

The function of dreams is to satisfy our own wishes 

Explanation:

Sigmund Freud is well-known for his ideas of psychoanalysis—where an individual's personality is based on childhood memories. He is particularly famous for his concept of childhood progression through psychosexual stages. During the id phase, a child is consumed by his desires and need of instant gratification. Freud theorized that once a child graduated from the id stage, then he will achieve the ego stage and ultimately superego. At this time, the adult will have buried and overcome his desires in his unconscious and be able to pay attention to the conscious thoughts associated with morally and socially acceptable behaviors. Given this information, Freud would most likely be in support of dreams serving the purpose to satisfy one's wishes. He believed that dreams provided a platform to act out an individual's latent content—buried unconscious wishes and desires—in a censored symbolic version by way of manifest content. Manifest content is what the individual will remember as the dream's content and main storyline (i.e. what the dream was at "face value").

Example Question #15 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

One theory for the function of dreaming is that it allows us to file away our memories. It is understood that dreams allow us to review the information gained from the day. They also facilitate or ability to sift and sort through this information and incorporate it into our memories. Which of the following stages of sleep, if interrupted multiple times, would most likely cause that individual to remember less the following morning?

Possible Answers:

Stage 1 sleep 

Stage 3 sleep 

REM sleep 

Stage 5 sleep

Stage 2 sleep

Correct answer:

REM sleep 

Explanation:

Dreaming has been observed to predominantly occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. A dream may be noted at the beginning of REM sleep. If dreaming is to serve one function of reorganizing information into memory, then as some studies have indicated, uninterrupted REM sleep is most beneficial for integrating new information. Given that no stage 5 sleep has yet been identified, this would be an incorrect answer. Although some studies may counter-argue that interruptions in non-REM stages will yield poor memory integration, it is important to remember that a majority of dreaming does not occur in these stages.

Example Question #16 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Which of the following sleep waves consist of low amplitude and high frequency waves, and becomes progressively higher in amplitude and slower in frequency when transitioning between stage 1 and stage 2 sleep?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Theta waves

Delta waves 

Beta waves

Alpha waves

Correct answer:

Theta waves

Explanation:

Theta waves are usually connected to emotions, memories, and other activities in the limbic system. These cognitive processes calm when a person is transition from awake to stage 2 of sleep; therefore, the waves will be less frequent and higher in amplitude.

Example Question #17 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Which of the following is not a true characteristic of REM sleep?

Possible Answers:

Slower brain activity

Paradoxical sleep

Slight paralysis

Elevated brain activity

Rapid eye movement

Correct answer:

Slower brain activity

Explanation:

REM sleep is characterized by all of the listed answer choices except slower brain activity. REM sleep helps us remember more and is the stage of sleep where dreams occur. Our brain activity is actually intensified during this stage.

Example Question #18 : Theories Of Sleep And Dreaming

Last night Carla dreamed of drowning in a tidal wave. Which of the following best describes how a psychologist subscribing to the activation-synthesis model of dreaming would interpret Carla's dream?

Possible Answers:

Carla’s brain is merely trying to make sense out of random neuron firings.

Carla had a close call at swim lessons and is reflecting on that.

Carla is at the beach and heard a loud wave crashing while she slept.

Carla is afraid of being overwhelmed with tasks at work.

Correct answer:

Carla’s brain is merely trying to make sense out of random neuron firings.

Explanation:

The activation-synthesis model of dreaming suggests that during REM sleep, different neurons in different brain areas randomly fire (possibly to keep the brain active and “working”). The brain interprets these random neural signals, which largely come from areas associated with emotion and memories like the limbic system and hippocampus, and attempts to shape them into coherent perceptions of the information being passed by these sensory neurons. We experience this shaping as dreams. 

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