While dreams have been of interest to people throughout the centuries, it was Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud who first made the “scientific” study of dreams popular after the publication of his book “The Interpretation of Dreams” in 1899. In this book, Freud discussed his theory that all dreams were wish fulfilments. He felt that our primal urges and impulses had to be suppressed in waking life and that dreams allowed these impulses to be expressed. At the same time, he believed that, even in dreams, these urges could be too disturbing and they would often appear in disguised symbolic form. So for instance, according to Freud, stairwells, mine shafts, and small narrow recesses in buildings had symbolic repressed sexual undertones.
For the better part of the 20th century, Freud’s theory of dreams, or some version of it, dominated the field of psychology. However in the later part of the century, advances in brain imaging technology