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Wolpert, E.A. (1973). The Effect of Stress on Dreams. Psychological Issues, Vol. VII, No. 3, Monograph 27: By Louis Breger, Ian Hunter, and Ron W. Lane. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1972. 213 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:626-627.
(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:626-627
The Effect of Stress on Dreams. Psychological Issues, Vol. VII, No. 3, Monograph 27: By Louis Breger, Ian Hunter, and Ron W. Lane. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1972. 213 pp.
Review by: Edward A. Wolpert
The present study was conceived to demonstrate 'that dreams may serve a unique function in the integration or assimilation of affectively aroused information into the "solutions" embodied in existing memory systems'. A standard presleep stimulus, such as being a 'focus' for a sensitivity group meeting, or being prepared for surgery, was presented to the subject and his dreams obtained by EEG-REM monitoring.
Two types of analyses were done on the collected dreams. First, case studies of each subject were made and the obtained dreams 'analyzed' from an external point of view, without benefit of experimenter-subject interaction. Second, content ratings were made along three parameters to serve as a check on the case study-dream analysis method. Generally speaking the content ratings support the dreaminterpretation-reconstructions.
The results of the study indicate that the sensitivity group did produce a stress on each subject when he or she was the focus of the group, and that surgery, as could be expected, was also a stress. In all cases the subjects handled the stress in a way congruent to what was known of their personalities beforehand. The only unexpected finding was that several patients could recall few or no dreams upon REM awakening prior to surgery, while postsurgery recall was more normal.
The study is of interest because it reports an extensive series of sequential nocturnal dreams in patients undergoing stated stress. However, the dream analyses show no advance in technique over analyses of sequential nocturnal dreams made in more routine experimental subjects over fifteen years ago.
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