Sleep-Talking: Psychology and Psychophysiology

By Arthur M. Arkin | Go to book overview

4
Demography of Sleep-Talking

Valid estimation of the prevalence of sleep-utterance in the general population is difficult, because as a rule subjects do not remember, or are not aware of, their sleep-talking, and roommates, spouses, siblings, parents, or lovers are themselves usually asleep during occurrences. For the same reason, uncertainty exists about the age of onset in any particular instance, because yet earlier occurrences may have escaped notice. The ideal study would involve obtaining a random subject sample properly selected from various age groups and both sexes, and without their knowledge, installing home bedroom microphones leading to continuously operating tape recorders throughout a series of nights. For ethical and practical reasons, such studies are not likely to ever be carried out, and we shall have to make what we can out of less than methodologically perfect sources.


REPORTS OF CLINICIANS AND AUTHORITATIVE OBSERVERS

Most observers state or imply that sleep-talking is a frequent occurrence in the general "normal" population, and especially so in children, adolescents, and young adults ( Bleuler, 1923; Brown, 1910; Kanner, 1957; Kleitman, 1963; Oswald, 1962; Trömner, 1911 a&b,). Inasmuch as older observers are usually still awake while the young are asleep, the former have greater opportunity to witness episodes, and so the opinion about its greater prevalence in the young may be partly artifactual. Cameron ( 1952) observed that sleep-talking was ubiquitous among the barracks of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf command

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