Sleep-Talking: Psychology and Psychophysiology

By Arthur M. Arkin | Go to book overview

17
A Contemporary Theoretical Organizing Perspective for Sleep-Utterance

SLEEP-UTTERANCE AND PSYCHIC DISSOCIATION

In previous publications ( Arkin, 1970; Arkin et al. 1972a; Arkin, 1974b), it was hypothesized that sleep-utterance could represent the output of an evanescent, spontaneously evolved psychoneural system in sleep, the activity of which deserves to be classified as a "miniature dissociative reaction." This phrase was selected because the phenomena of sleep-utterances seemed analogous in many respects to features of the classical dissociative syndromes described by Janet ( 1889, 1907). The term was introduced by him because of the prevailing theory of the time that memories were brought to awareness by a process of association with the mainstream of conscious ideas, and memories that existed but were not available to awareness were somehow "dis-associated." Janet utilized this concept in accounting for the clinical phenomena of somnambulism and fugues characterized by sustained behavioral episodes with rich psychological content related to deep personal concerns, and for which the patient had amnesia during his usual "normal" state.


WEST'S DEFINITION OF PSYCHIC DISSOCIATION

Although many other clinicians have written extensively on dissociation (see Hilgard, 1977, for a detailed discussion and bibliography, the best clinical review and psychiatric discussion known to me is that of West ( 1967). For the

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