The contribution of Calvin S. Hall, Jr. in analyses of dreams lies in the fact that he is the one who put forward the Cognitive Theory of dreams which basically suggests that a dream reveals the inherent thoughts and emotions that lie deeply embedded in your subconscious mind, and should be interpreted in context to find the true meaning that your dreams want to convey.

It is an interesting fact that when you dream it is very rarely about any socio economic or cultural issues as long as you are not intertwined with them in some way or the other. When you dream it is a very personal experience. Your dreams involve your intimate thoughts and emotions, and these should be attached great importance when analyzing dreams.

(a) Conception of Self

According to Hall a dream is a mirror where you can see what you perceive about yourself. You may have some deep rooted notions about yourself embedded in your mind which you may or may not reflect upon while awake. Your perception of self may consist of a number of roles that you play in your life, or it may be more extensive and also varied. He firmly believed that dreams are the most candid expressions of ideas that you nurture about yourself. If dreams can be interpreted properly you shall have a better knowledge about yourself.

(b) Conception of Other People

Halls research on dreams also put forward the fact that dreams are often manifestations of what you think about other people around you – it could be your parent or sibling or peer or spouse or offspring or even a wide diversion and cross section of people. These conceptions, like that of the conceptions on self, depend largely upon the roles played by these people. For example – if you consider your mother to be caring, when you dream of her you shall see her playing a role that befits your notion of nurturance; if you find your teacher to be demanding, the person would comply with this notion of stern autocrat even in your dream. However, more often than not you have a multiple of notions related to a single person. As such, your dreams can also portray multiple conceptions of the same person. This tally with the fact that, in your waking life, you find that these people perform various and varied roles.

(c) Conception of the World

Hall put forward that what you dream also depends a lot on the world you live in and your perception of the environment that forms your life. This is different naturally from the perception of your “self”. How you perceive the world is often expressed in the character or setting that you visualize in your dream. Often the mood of the dreamer gets expressed in the way the dreamer visualizes the world around. For example – if you feel lonely and disillusioned, you may find yourself dreaming of a desert; if you find no hope within, it may get expressed in the form of snowy or rocky setting; if you have been feeling turbulent or agitated, your dream may conjure up an image of raging oceans, thunderous climate or even battles or traffic congestions; if you have a feeling of tranquility within, you may perceive a dream in an idyllic natural setting.

(d) Conception of the various Impulses, Prohibitions, and the Penalties

Dreams are often the gratification of your impulses, especially those that are not gratified in your waking life. Wish fulfillment is an important aspect of dream. Hall put forward that it is the way that you perceive the various impulses that you have and the constraints that you face are what get expressed in your dream rather than those impulses or constraints in themselves. Dreams often bring you the message of the constraints that are stopping you from fulfilling your desires. Often such obstacles are seen in symbolic representation – a wall, a locked door etc. If you feel that your wish is something that is not socially acceptable, and yet you fulfill it, there may be a fear of penalty that may get expressed in your dream, may be in the way of an accident or misfortune. In other words it can also be said that dreams can be related to the moral make up of a person and how the person perceives actions, emotions and reactions in light of such morality.

(e) Conception of the various Problems and Conflicts

Dreams often bring to your notice the problems that you may be facing. However, these may come to you as the way you perceive the conflicts and the way you behave when facing the conflicts. It should be kept in mind that such factors may or may not exist in real – your dreams are intimately yours, and as such represent your personal conceptions and not necessarily factual realities. It has also been established that dreams are often prototypic representation of the various concepts that have been embedded in your mind. Example – you see that you are trying to study but the wind is causing the pages of your book to get ruffles – here you see that you are the victim who is being prevented by an external problem from performing what is expected from you.


From the above discussions, certain inferences may be drawn about the Dream theories of Calvin S. Hall, Jr. –

  • A dream basically represents the various concepts and notions that are embedded in your mind in a pictorial manner.


  • For proper interpretation of dreams it is important to relate to the personal conceptions of the dreamer.


  • When we speak of conceptions in a dream, we usually mean one or more of the following types — (1) self-conceptions, (2) conceptions of other people, (3) conceptions of the world, (4) conceptions of impulses, prohibitions, and penalties, and (5) conceptions of conflicts.


  • Conceptions in dreams depend upon the behavioral antecedents.


  • Dreams bring out the concepts of the unconscious mind and also include various prototypes.

Dream Interpretation
Body Parts in Dreams Chase Dreams Cheating Dreams
Common Dreams Daydreams Death Dreams
Epic Dreams Falling Dreams Flying Dreams
Lucid Dreams Naked Dreams Nightmares
Prophetic Dreams Recurring Dreams Snake Dreams
Teeth Dreams Test Dreams

Dream Symbols
Alphabet Dream Symbols Animal Dream Symbols Bird Dream Symbols
Bug Dream Symbols Car Dream Symbols Character Dream Symbols
Clothing Dream Symbols Colors Dream Symbols Common Dream Symbols
Death Dream Symbols Disaster Dream Symbols Feelings Dream Symbols
Food Dream Symbols House Dream Symbols Numbers Dream Symbol
Places Dream Symbols Pregnancy Dream Symbols Relationship Dream Symbols
Travel Dream Symbols Vanity Dream Symbols Wedding Dream Symbols

Dream Theories
Dream Theories of C.G. Jung Dream Theories of Calvin S. Hall, Jr. Dream Theories of Frederick Perls
Dream Theory of Alfred Adler Sigmund Freud’s Dream Theory