Structure and Functions of Fantasy

By Eric Klinger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
Implications of Dream Research for a Theory of Fantasy

Interest in dreams has taken several different but interrelated directions. The first important strand of investigation preoccupied itself with the nature of dream symbolization -- the processes whereby recognizable, rational personal themes are transformed into the cryptic code of the dream -- and, conversely, with the interpretation of dreams, extrapolating backward to their internal and stimulus determinants. Second, investigators sought to establish functions, psychological and biological, for the existence of dreaming, and to interweave the phenomenon with current motivational theories. The two lines of inquiry have often viewed the dream as a somewhat special sort of behavior, perhaps continuous with some other kinds of behavior, such as neurotic symptoms or creative thought, but nevertheless requiring for its explanation a set of principles different in key respects from most waking activity. A third, rather more descriptive research tradition was set in motion by the revolutionary discovery in 1953, by Kleitman and his colleagues, that the brain waves and eye movement of sleeping subjects provide indicators of dream states. The resulting research technology has enabled investigators to attempt far more incisive tests of earlier theories, and has in addition encouraged exploratory and parametric studies of responses associated with dreaming.

Various aspects of these many efforts have in recent years been summarized and integrated in a number of highly competent reviews (e.g., Dement, 1965; Foulkes, 1966; Hall, 1959; Hartmann, 1967; Luce and Segal, 1966; Kamiya, 1961; Murray, 1965). This chapter gleans only certain elements potentially helpful in advancing a theory of fantasy.


INTERRELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN WAKING FANTASY AND DREAMS

As in the discussion of play, it behooves us to examine the relevancy of the dream research to a theory of fantasy. There are three possible kinds

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