Emotion-processing

It has been theorised by many sleep and dream researchers that a function of sleep and dreams may be emotion-processing. By this it is meant that emotional experiences from waking life are integrated with our existing memories when we sleep and when we dream, and the emotion that’s attached to the memory of the experience is “turned down”. The purpose of this is that when we think about that memory later on, we can remember it, but don’t experience the emotion as strongly as when it initially happened. This is useful because we need to be able to remember our past experiences, but if we experience the emotion as strongly every time we recall the experience we would all be walking around in constant intense states of emotion, which would make life even harder and confusing than it already is.

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