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January 2022

A historical loop of one hundred years: Similarities between 19th century and contemporary dream research

Journal/Book: Dreaming. 2000; 10: 233 Spring St, New York, NY 10013-1578, USA. Kluwer Academic-Human Sciences Press. 55-66.

Abstract: Contemporary cognitive and neuropsychological approaches to dreaming show striking methodological and conceptual similarities with the scientific dream literature of the last century. The use of introspective dream reports and the emphasis on dream phenomenology are characteristic of both periods but were bannished during the first half of this century: the former by behaviorism, the latter by psychoanalysis. Three main common axioms of 19th century and contemporary dream research are described: (a) dream experience results from cognitive syntheses realized in the absence of external constraints; (b) dream narrative or dream coherency involves mental associative mechanisms; (c) dream bizarreness emerges from a cerebral state characterized by functional dissociation. According to these three axioms, the observation of dream phenomena reveals that distinct cognitive processes might function in a partly autonomous, automatic, and dissociated way, making dreaming a unique model of these cognitive processes.

Note: Article Schwartz S, Univ Coll London, Inst Cognit Neurosci, Alexandra House, 17 Queen Sq, London WC1N 3AR, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): dreaming; epistemology; cognitive processes; neuropsychology; consciousness states; REM-SLEEP; ACTIVATION; PET


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