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January 2022

Problems with the cognitive psychological modeling of dreaming

Journal/Book: J Mind Behav. 1996; 17: PO Box 522, Village Station, New York, NY 10014. Inst Mind Behavior Inc. 99-134.

Abstract: It is frequently assumed that dreaming can be likened to such waking cognitive activities as imagination, analogical reasoning, and creativity, and that these models can then be used to explain instances of problem solving during dreams. This paper emphasizes instead the lack of reflexivity and intentionality within dreams, which undermines their characterization as analogs of the waking world, and opposes claims that dreams can complement and aid waking world problem solving. The importance of reflexivity in imagination, in analogical reasoning and in creativity means that dreaming, being usually single-minded, cannot be subsumed into these categories. Freud's hypothesis that dreams result from the translation of latent thoughts into manifest content is taken to support this idea of cognitive deficiency during dreaming. Dream content, however, can still represent and reflect the dreamer's waking concerns.

Note: Review M Blagrove, Univ Coll Swansea, Dept Psychol, Swansea SA2 8PP, W Glam, Wales

Keyword(s): ANALOGICAL TRANSFER; CORTICAL ACTIVATION; EARLIER PROBLEMS; MENTAL-IMAGERY; CONSCIOUSNESS; SIMILARITY; CONTEXT; REPRESENTATION; ASSOCIATIONS; ADAPTATION


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