Sleep-Talking: Psychology and Psychophysiology

By Arthur M. Arkin | Go to book overview

11
Experimental Manipulation of Sleep-Talking

Following my first acquaintance with electrographic techniques of sleep research, I became intrigued by the possibility of acquiring a measure of control over sleep-talking with the object of obtaining first-hand, eyewitness accounts of ongoing sleep mentation, much as a radio reporter describes ongoing events to a listening audience. I hoped in this fashion to gain glimpses of dreams in progress, influenced as little as possible by cognitive distortion during wakeful recall and by factors associated with the nature of awakening procedures. Over the subsequent course of time, additional technical approaches to this problem were developed in several laboratories, including my own. The results have been of interest not only in their own right, but also for their implications regarding cognition during sleep and wakefulness. The studies are, therefore, related in detail.


STUDIES EMPLOYING POSTHYPNOTIC SUGGESTION

In 1960, ( Arkin, 1960) exploratory pilot experiments were conducted to determine the feasibility of posthypnotically induced sleep-talking as a means of sampling sleep ideation. I should like to emphasize that the choice of posthypnotic rather than some other method of control was made on the basis of expediency rather than attempting to demonstrate the effective potency of posthypnotic suggestion per se. I would have selected any technique that gave promise of capabilities of stimulating sleep-speech with minimal disruption of the subject's sleep by external stimuli introduced during the night. As it

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