Dreaming: A Cognitive-Psychological Analysis

Dreaming: A Cognitive-Psychological Analysis

Dreaming: A Cognitive-Psychological Analysis

Dreaming: A Cognitive-Psychological Analysis

Excerpt

This book brings some cognitive-psychological concepts to bear on a phenomenon—dreaming—previously thought to be the province of the psychoanalyst or the psychophysiologist. Its premise is unremarkable: Dreaming is a mental act with distinctive properties depending on a particular organization of mental processes. To understand dreaming, therefore, we need to identify those mental systems that are active while we dream and to characterize their modes of action and interaction.

It is my assumption that the sleeping mind is not functionally distinct from the waking mind; hence dreaming does not depend on mental processes or systems that are in any way unique to sleep. In recent years, cognitive psychology has made considerable progress in identifying some of the probable processing operations and representational systems of the waking mind. Thus, if dream psychology can specify the peculiarities of dreams and dreaming that require explanation, then cognitive psychology may provide the kinds of knowledge about mental processing and representations in terms of which such explanation must be sought.

My aim is to present a conceptual framework in which this kind of explanation of dreaming may be possible. I do not present a new "theory" of dreaming, so much as I suggest some new ways of thinking about dreaming that may stimulate significant empirical research from which more formalized cognitive theories of dreaming may someday emerge.

The building of bridges between two areas that psychology has contrived to separate is not without its risks, of course. First, no one can . . .

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