Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Function of Dreams

"It seems that some kind of scanning or re-programming takes place in dreams which has a beneficial effect upon ordinary mental functioning. Dreaming seems to be biologically adaptive. Stanley Palambo suggests that dreams are concerned with matching past and present experience. He thinks that:

"the dream compares the representation of an emotionally significant event of the past with the representation of an emotionally significant aspect of the previous day's experience."

This information-processing function of the dream is concerned with allotting the new experience to the right slot in the permanent memory. Whether this model accounts for all dreams is dubious; but it goes some way to explaining why it is that in dreams, time is so often out of joint. If past and present are being compared, it is not surprising that, in the dream, they so often appear to be confused."

Page 25, 'The Capacity to be Alone', from Anthony Storr's 'Solitude'

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