Dreaming : Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams
Human Sciences Press, Inc., New York City

Volume 8, Number 4,   December 1998 
 


CONTENTS

Dreaming as Delirium: A Reply to Bert States
J. Allan Hobson
Page 211 

Dreaming as Delirium: A Response to Hobson
Bert O. States
Page 223

Penelope as Dreamer: A Reading of Book 19 of The Odyssey
Kelly Bulkeley
Page 229

Conditioned Salivation and Associated Dreams from REM Sleep
Russell Conduit and Grahame Coleman
Page 243
 
In Memoriam: Kay Stockholder, 1928-1998
Page 263

 



J. Allan Hobson
Dreaming as Delirium: A Reply to Bert States
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams.
Vol 8(4) 211-222, Dec 1998.


Abstract: 

When analyzed from a formal mental states point of view, REM sleep dreaming evinces all four of the cardinal defining features of delirium: visual halluncinosis; disorientation; memory loss, and confabulation. This new formulation is supported by neurobiological findings at the level of neurones and neuromodulators, which indicate a dramatic shift in the balance of the same aminergic and cholinergic neuromodulatory systems that mediate delirium upon the ingestion or withdrawal of drugs that upset that balance. Convinced that all of the symptoms and signs of delirium that have been emphasized above could be the natural manifestations of hyperassociation, Bert States has challenged both the validity and heuristic value of this "Dreaming as Delirium" paradigm. Arguing that no natural process like dreaming can be dysfunctional, and wishing to advance the thesis that all naturally determined mental content obeys the law of associativity, States commits himself to a paradigm of interpretability which is linked to a metaphorical-analogical function of memory. States (and most other students of dreaming) have difficulty accepting my claim that discontinuity and incongruity are in a dialectical and oppositional struggle with associativity. These dissociative processes, which arise at the neuronal level described by the reciprocal interaction model, translate into the universal and generically nonsensical aspects of dream content that are explained by the paradigm of dreaming as delirium. In this essay, I urge that States and all others share with me the fond hope of a scientifically respectable approach to the interpretation of dreams, recognize that both associativity and dissociation are hard at work in REM sleep dreaming and other autocreative states of mind. Once the both/and replaces the either/or mind set, it is possible to separate the emotionally salient signals from the cognitively disjunctive noise. The same step allows us to recognize that all complex natural systems have both functional and dysfunctional aspects and that these are sometimes mutually enhancing as well as mutually entailed by the mechanisms that engender them. Turning Polonius on his head I thus suggest: Though this be method, yet there's madness in it!

Key Words:
dreaming; delirium; REM sleep; reciprocal interaction; activation synthesis.


Bert O. States
Dreaming as Delirium: A Response to Hobson

Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 8(4) 223-228, Dec 1998.

Abstract:

My response to Allan Hobson makes several points. Primarily, I argue that the coherence of any dream cannot be determined by the recall of the dream events alone. Rather, coherence must surely reside in the dreamer's felt involvement in those dream events, and this is virtually impossible to determine from a dream report. Second, in response to Hobson's claim that a purely associative thought process neglects the role of dissociation, I
argue that metaphor (analogical thinking in general), in all its forms, consists of a tension between resemblance and dissociation (a shift from one domain to another) and that the function of metaphor is, precisely, to free us from the gravity of received understanding. I suggest ways in which this process operates in all speculation, including art and science. Finally, I discuss the nature of dream orientation in connection with the specimen dream that Hobson provided.
 


Kelly Bulkeley
Penelope as Dreamer: A Reading of Book 19 of The Odyssey
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 8(4) 229-242, Dec 1998.

Abstract:  

This essay reexamines the encounter between Odysseus and Penelope in Book 19 of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey, focusing particular attention on the dream of the 20 geese Penelope describes during that encounter. Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, says the dream is a favorable omen which indicates the real Odysseus will return soon to rid his palace of the hated suitors who have occupied it in his long absence. Although generations of scholars have agreed with the hero's interpretation, the present essay offers a different understanding: Penelope, having recognized who this "beggar" really is, has fabricated her dream of the 20 geese to test her husband and determine whether he is more interested in renewing their marriage or satisfying his vengeance against the suitors. The essay offers an appreciation of Penelope as one of our earliest and wisest dreamers, who understood how easily people's wishes and desires could lead them to misinterpret their own dreams and the dreams of others.

 



 Russell Conduit and Grahame Coleman
 Conditioned Salivation and Associated Dreams from REM Sleep
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 8(4) 243-262, Dec 1998.

Abstract: 

Although research has investigated the feasibility of establishing classically conditioned physiological responses during sleep, very few experimental studies have considered whether classically conditioned cognitive associations are possible. Since dreams have previously been described as a state of "hyper-association," an experiment involving classical conditioning of the human salivary response and associated dream content was conducted. During wakefulness, repeated pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS; a red light) with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS; citrus juice) yielded a conditioned autonomic response (CR; salivation) on presentation of the CS alone. After exposure to the CS during REM sleep, salivary excretion rates measured upon awakening were significantly higher than measures taken from baseline REM awakenings. However, no CR-related dreams were reported by the participants. This result could be interpreted as evidence that participants in this experiment did not experience higher-order memory associations to the external stimuli presented during REM. Alternatively, the lack of CR-related dreams could be explained by previous findings that the autonomic nervous system often works independently of higher-order cognitive activity. Therefore, if an autonomic association is formed, this does not necessarily imply a cognitive one.

Key Words: classical conditioning; dreaming; activation synthesis; external stimuli.


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