10 of Psychology's Greatest Myths

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Dreams Possess Symbolic Meaning

Do you ever dream about hair-cutting, tooth loss, or beheading? You're probably worried about castration, at least according to Sigmund Freud.

About 43% of Americans believe that dreams reflect unconscious desires. Over half agree that dreams can unveil hidden truths. Admittedly, dreaming mostly remains an enigma to science, but the act is almost certainly not a crystal ball of the unconscious mind.

Instead, the theory that has garnered the most scientific support goes a little something like this: Dreaming is the jumbled representation of our brain's actions to assort and cobble together information and experience, like a file-sorting system. Thus, as Lilienfeld says, dream interpretation would be "haphazard at best."

"Rather than relying on a dream dictionary to foretell the future or help you make life decisions, it would probably be wisest to weigh the pros and cons of differing courses of action carefully, and consult trusted friends and advisers."

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

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