Sleep-Talking: Psychology and Psychophysiology

By Arthur M. Arkin | Go to book overview

Foreword

This book contains, to the best of my knowledge, virtually everything that is publicly known about sleep-talking, with the greatest amount and most important of this information coming from the author's own research. The work is thorough, careful, and thoughtful. It is that rare product that says just about all that can be said on a subject. In short, it is now the "authoritative work" on sleep talking, and it is likely to remain such for many years.

To all of this, one impulsive response might be a resounding "So what?". To the potential reader who has seen man leave his planet for the first time and who is bombarded daily with claims of unsurpassed excellence, the announcement of "the authoritative work on sleep-talking" could produce visions of "sleep reading." Afterall, as the data of this book show, sleep talking does not occur very frequently; it rarely reveals the sleeper's deepest secrets, and it has not received very much clinical or theoretical attention. Is the book much ado about an insignificant anomaly that is useful mostly for newpaper fillers on oddities or for cocktail party chatter? Our answer is a resounding "No."

It turns out that the core of both popular and scientific interest in sleep talking is that it happens when "it isn't supposed to," or, more pedantically; it is a behavior which occurs during sleep although it involves a complexity of psychomotor coordination which is almost excluded from sleep by definition. Sleep and the absence of complex psychomotor activity have become disassociated. It is in the nature of disassociations that they are anomalies. However, fine minds have always been drawn to disassociations. They are exceptions to the rule which demand a better rule. They are invitations to elevate generalizations to higher or more accurate levels. It is with this kind of

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