Tag Archives: dreaming

“Looking for Skinner and finding Freud”

Geir OverskeidA while back, in the Fall of 2007, we posted a handful of notes about the articles then recently published in American Psychologist. But one slipped through the cracks: Geir Overskeid‘s essay on the relationship between Skinner and Freud.

Sigmund Freud and B. F. Skinner are often seen as psychology’s polar opposites. It seems this view is fallacious. Indeed, Freud and Skinner had many things in common, including basic assumptions shaped by positivism and determinism. More important, Skinner took a clear interest in psychoanalysis and wanted to be analyzed but was turned down. His views were influenced by Freud in many areas, such as dream symbolism, metaphor use, and defense mechanisms. Skinner drew direct parallels to Freud in his analyses of conscious versus unconscious control of behavior and of selection by consequences. He agreed with Freud regarding aspects of methodology and analyses of civilization. In his writings on human behavior, Skinner cited Freud more than any other author, and there is much clear evidence of Freud’s impact on Skinner’s thinking.

However, the delay has afforded an unexpected benefit: the full text of the article can now be found online here. (An additional related reading is provided below the fold.) Continue reading “Looking for Skinner and finding Freud”

De Sanctis’ experimental psychology of dreams

Sante De SanctisIn the latest issue of History of the Human Sciences, 21(3), Giovanni Pietro Lombardo and Renato Foschi review the forgotten contributions of Sante De Sanctis (pictured left).

Sante De Sanctis (1862-1935), a pioneer of psychology in Rome at the end of the 19th century, applied methods from the expanding field of experimental psychology to the study of dreams, which was considered one of the leading ways to gain an understanding of normal and pathological psychic life. Taking inspiration from several traditions, De Sanctis proposed a study that anticipated a scientific program that also differentiated between contemporary psychoanalytical interpretations according to which previous dream psychology was considered a ‘dark forest’. On the contrary, the multi-faceted methodology that he adopted for the study of an, until then, marginal phenomenon of the ‘new’ psychology, represented an element of originality that also included the elaboration of a psycho-physiological theory of dreams. Although the Italian psychologist’s work on dreams was characterized by these important methodological changes, it disappeared from the references of those who contributed to the foundation of modern dreaming psychology after the Second World War. The present article places De Sanctis’ psychology of dreams in its scientific context and singles out its originality while also analyzing the reasons for its marginalization.

AHP has previously discussed the history of dreaming as part of our coverage of Kenton Kroker’s new book on the history of sleep. We had also previously mentioned the recent Wellcome Exhibit on sleep and dreaming, but — regrettably — the links we provided no longer work. If you have a live link, either to the exhibit or to media coverage that discusses it in detail, please add this resource as a comment below.

Wellcome Exhibit on Sleeping and Dreaming

dream1.jpgMind Hacks, once again, brings to light an event of interest:

London’s newest science museum, the Wellcome Collection, has just kicked off what looks to be a fantastic exhibition on the art and science of sleeping and dreaming.

It runs until March 2008 and aims to illustrate how we’ve understood sleep through the ages, as well as the contemporary science of this still mysterious state.

For the rest of the item, go here.

Another Book for the Holidays

Sleep is something that almost all of us need more of. And thus, increasingly, sleep is coming to be seen as a medical issue, complete with disorders, treatments, laboratories, research, etc. A new book on the history of sleep research has been written by Kenton Kroker entitled, The Sleep of Others and the Transformations of Sleep Research (U. Toronto Press, 2007). Kroker, of the new York U. Science & Technlogy Studies program, covers the gamut of sleep-related phenomena, from the dream interpretation arts of the ancient world to today’s high-tech investigation of the activities of the (supposedly) sleeping brain. According to the books blurb: Continue reading Another Book for the Holidays

NY Times: Dreams recurring in Clinical Psych

An article in today’s New York Times highlights a return for Clinical Psychology: an interest in dreams.

Big dreams are once again on the minds of psychologists as part of a larger trend toward studying dreams as meaningful representations of our concerns and emotions. “Big dreams are transformative,” Roger Knudson, director of the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at Miami University of Ohio, said in a telephone interview. The dreaming imagination does not just harvest images from remembered experience, he said. It has a “poetic creativity” that connects the dots and “deforms the given,” turning scattered memories and emotions into vivid, experiential vignettes that can help us to reflect on our lives.

Using different language, we might therefore think of dreaming as a process of “reflecting abstraction” (cf. Indurkhya, 2007).

Continue reading NY Times: Dreams recurring in Clinical Psych