Webster, Kathleen

Advisor Department







The average person makes approximately 35,000 conscious decisions per day, which, accounting for the daily amount of sleep a person gets, is equivalent to a decision madeevery two seconds. Upon realizing the frequency, I sought to find a distinctive connectionbetween the conscious and unconscious when it pertains to how people make decisions. I hypothesized that people make decisions regarding their personal relationships with the help of intuition, which I considered to be the ultimate link between our dreams and our conscious thought. I also believed the concept of intuition was entirely dependent on our processing and decoding of dreams. In order to prove this connection, it was necessary to study the dream theories of two of the most renowned dream psychologists: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Freud stated that the connection between dreams and decisions is related to “wish-fulfillment” based in a sexual or instinctual nature (1899).Jung, however, believed that these instincts and primitive thoughts were not the only reason for dreams. He believed that dreams could help us resolve conflicts and issues in our personal lives and help us reach our full potential, very similar to Abraham Maslow’s “Self-Actualization” theory. Essentially, the way in which we process and decode our experiences through memories allow our unconscious thoughts to produce dream images to satisfy what we wish for, which our conscious mind represses while awake. This can relate to personal connections by our own unconscious telling us who we should spend time with, and what they mean to us, whether through comparisons to others we know, such as parents, or otherwise. Unfortunately, due to the nature and subjectivity of dreams, it was impossible to definitively or concretely confirm or deny my hypothesis.However, all of this research was not put to waste, as the knowledge and information I found was later applied to several social and developmental theories that also had a direct relationship with personal decision-making, such as Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory and, as stated above, Maslow’s theory. This raised several questions regarding how an environment and culture can influence our thoughts, our dreams, and therefore our decisions, in a cyclical nature. For example, how does our childhood experiences with our parents, for better or worse, influence our adult romantic endeavors and the decisions we make when choosing potential partners. This Honors project has taken a much different turn compared to what I had expected a few months ago. It has resulted in an introspective experience that has helped me gain insight into why humans behave the way they do and the intricacies behind some of the unanswered questions involving unconscious influences on the human mind and soul that may not be readily apparent, but nonetheless drive decision making.