Ch 4: The Freudian Approach: Relevant Research Four topics are covered, - questions about how to interpret these findings remain. Some empirical support has been obtained for Freud's theory, in no case is this support clear and unequivocal. content of dreams ---that men tend to dream about male characters twice as often as they dream about female characters. Some researchers interpret this finding as evidence of men's preoccupation with other men, a holdover from unresolved Oedipal impulses. discovery of REM sleep allowed investigators to better examine the function of dreams. it is not clear that deprivation of REM sleep is related to psychological disorders, some research indicates that dreaming may help the sleeper work through ongoing problems. Dream Analysis: Freud believed nearly all dreams are wish fulfillment—some wishes obvious, dream theme is the wish. Most wishes expressed in latent content so interpretation needed to uncover the wish. Manifest content---the surface meaning of dream, the conscious description given by dreamer. Latent content---refers to unconscious material Dreams formed in the unconscious and originate as attempts by unconscious wishes to become conscious. Wishes must slip past primary and final censors---guardians of unconscious psychic material. Wishes disguised---the latent content Two methods used to interpret dreams—tell dream and all their associations with dream. Dream symbols—discover unconscious elements underlying manifest content Projective tests and other procedures are used to determine which defense mechanisms people use. Studies find young children tend to rely on unsophisticated defense mechanisms, such as denial, whereas adults more often use defense mechanisms like identification. Researchers find individual differences in preferred defense mechanisms. People who rely heavily on immature defense mechanisms may have more difficulties with personal adjustment and well-being than those who use more efficient and productive defense mechanisms. Freud outlined a theory of humor, arguing that sexual and aggressive themes underlie much of what we find funny. In support of his theory, researchers find that people think hostile humor is funnier when it is aimed at someone they dislike. some research indicates that hostile humor reduces the likelihood of aggression, as Freud predicted—while other studies find the opposite. the more tension people experience before receiving a punch line, the funnier they find a joke. Although many research findings are consistent with Freud's theory, many also are open to alternative interpretations. hypnotic participants often behave as if they are in an altered state of consciousness, skeptical researchers explain these phenomena in terms of expectancies, motivations, and relaxation. Hypnotic responsiveness is largely a participant variable. People who are generally able to become absorbed in a situation tend to be responsive to hypnotic suggestions. Attitudes, expectancies, and motivations play a role. Some evidence that people can increase their responsiveness with training exists, but how much this helps is probably limited.