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Solomon, I. (1960). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 29:608.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:608

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Irwin Solomon

DISCUSSION: Dr. Robert Holt proposed 'that the dream's function is that it provides hallucinatory gratification of infantile needs that cannot otherwise be gratified. The pressure of undischarged infantile drives would then account for the peremptory character of the need to dream when one is deprived of the opportunity.' He wondered why dream-deprived subjects did not merely increase their amount of daydreaming, and felt that the critical difference might lie in reality testing which remains in daydreams but not in dreams. He thought that in psychosis the need for hallucinatory gratification was too great to be satisfied in the usual dream time. He raised the question of the relationship between dream time and the degree of sublimation.

Dr. Mortimer Ostow disagreed with the interpretation of the data. He felt the formulation that the 'amount of useful sleep was proportionate to the total duration of sleep' was inaccurate, and questioned the entire concept of a dream deficit, as well as its possible role in the hallucinations associated with sleep loss in psychosis. He recalled his proposal that the function of sleep was the regeneration of libidinal energy, and reinterpreted the data in terms of this formulation.

Dr. David Rapaport emphasized the fact that the experiments proved conclusively that there was a peremptory need to dream which paralleled Freud's postulation of something peremptory working in the mental apparatus (instinctual drives). This characteristic of dreaming seems to be a physiological phenomena which appears as an indicator and perhaps a necessary condition of a psychological process. He took issue with Dr. Ostow's formulation of the data, as well as with Dr. Dement's thought that the content of the dream was unimportant.

Dr. Albert Rosner noted that 'the demonstration of the invariant factor of dreaming extends the libido theory of dreams beyond the usual limits. The finding may require changes in dream theory such as have already been made with respect to the vicissitudes and especially the autonomy of other psychic processes.'

Dr. Louis Linn suggested that to call the first phase of sleep the 'period of dreaming' may be fallacious and hence limit the usefulness of the experimental data. He preferred the utilization of a term like 'period of vigilance' and suggested several reformulations of the data without utilizing the term 'dreaming' at all.

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