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Meissner, W.W. (1968). Dreaming as Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:63-79.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:63-79

Dreaming as Process

W. W. Meissner

The Dreaming State

Recent years have seen a flurry of activity in neurophysiological circles concerning itself with the patterns and mechanisms of dreaming activity. Developments in this area of research are of supreme interest to the psychoanalyst since they add another dimension to our understanding of a phenomenon that has provided a rich source of data in psychoanalytic research and understanding. To the observer standing somewhere near the borderline of both neurophysiology and psychoanalysis, the richness of the data on both sides offers a unique challenge in synthesis and a stimulating crossfertilization which may generate a more penetrating understanding of the nature of the dream process and its function in the psychic economy.

Patterns of activation in dreaming

Research into the physiology of dreaming and its concomitants has been flourishing for more than a decade. Extensive reviews of these developments have been offered by Fisher (1965), Hartmann (1965), and Snyder (1963), (1965), and need not be rehearsed here. The cyclic alternation of periods of rapid eye movements (REM periods) with periods of no such patterns of eye movement (NREM periods) and the experimental relation of the former with dream activity is by now well known. These states are associated with remarkably different patterns of electrical activity in the brain. REM periods are related to characteristic patterns of activation in limbic and midbrain structures (Bancaud et al., 1964); (Brugge, 1965); (Jouvet and Mounier, 1962); (Meissner, 1966).

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