The Functions of Dreaming

Edited by Alan Moffitt, Milton Kramer, and Robert Hoffmann

Subjects: Anthropology
Series: SUNY series in Dream Studies
Paperback : 9780791412985, 610 pages, February 1993
Hardcover : 9780791412978, 610 pages, March 1993

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Table of contents




1. Data Constraints on Theorizing About Dream Function
David Foulkes

2. The Function of Dreaming in the Cycles of Cognition: A Biogenetic Structural Account
John McManus, Charles D. Laughlin, and Jon Shearer

3. A Model of Dreaming and Its Functional Significance: The State-Shift Hypothesis
Martha Koukkou and Dietrich Lehmann

4. Connectionism and Sleep
Gordon G. Globus

5. The Selective Mood Regulatory Function of Dreaming: An Update and Revision
Milton Kramer

6. Waking, Dreaming, and Self-Regulation
Sheila Purcell, Alan Moffitt, and Robert Hoffmann

7. REM Sleep and Dreams as Mechanisms of the Recovery of Search Activity
V. S. Rotenberg

8. The Repetition of Dreams and Dream Elements: A Possible Clue to a Function of Dreams
G. William Domhoff

9. Dreams and Adaptation to Contemporary Stress
David Koulack

10. REM Sleep and Learning: Some Recent Findings
Carlyle Smith

11. An Integrated Approach to Dream Theory: Contributions from Sleep Research and Clinical Practice
Ramon Greenberg and Chester Pearlman

12. The "Royal Road" to the Unconscious Revisited: A Signal Detection Model of Dream Function
Harry Fiss

13. The Impact of Dreams on Waking Thoughts and Feelings
Don Kuiken and Shelley Sikora

14. Reasons for Oneiromancy: Some Psychological Functions of Conventional Dream Interpretation
Waud H. Kracke

15. "Pity the Bones by Wandering River which Still Lovers' Dream Appear as Men"
Robert Knox Dentan and Laura J. McClusky

16. Dreaming: Could We Do Without It?
John Antrobus



Many contemporary neuroscientists are skeptical about the belief that dreaming accomplishes anything in the context of human adaptation and this skepticism is widely accepted in the popular press. This book provides answers to that skepticism from experimental and clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and anthropologists. Ranging across the human and life sciences, the authors provide provocative insights into the enduring question of dreaming from the point of view of the brain, the individual, and culture. The Functions of Dreaming contains both new theory and research on the functions of dreaming as well as revisions of older theories dating back to the founder of modern dream psychology, Sigmund Freud. Also explored are the many roles dreaming plays in adaptation to daily living, in human development, and in the context of different cultures: search, integration, identity formation, memory consolidation, the creation of new knowledge, and social communication.

Alan Moffitt and Robert Hoffmann are Professors of Psychology in the Department of Psychology and are co-directors of the Laboratory of Sleep and Chronopsychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Milton Kramer is Director of Sleep Disorders at Bethesda Oak Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.


"Understanding dreaming is essential to a comprehensive account of the nature of the mind. After all, we spend a third of our lives sleeping; as the chapters of this book amply demonstrate, important mental activity goes on during sleep, and psychology cannot be complete as long as it ignores the mind asleep and dreaming. The editors have done a commendable job of bringing together a wide variety of views of the 'elephant of the dark. ' I found reading the book a stimulating and rewarding experience, and I believe others will too. " — Stephen LaBerge, Stanford University

"Moffitt, Kramer, and Hoffmann, each highly respected in his field, have gathered together a group of respected and scholarly authors to create a book that reflects the 'state of the art' in scientific research on the dreaming process. Functions of Dreaming provides a lucid, empirically based, methodologically informed, and theoretically alive presentation of fundamentally significant issues in the field which should challenge any rational skeptic's doubt regarding the bio/affective/cognitive significance of the dreaming process. " — Robert E. Haskell, University of New England