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Palombo, S.R. (1992). Connectivity and Condensation in Dreaming. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:1139-1159.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:1139-1159

Connectivity and Condensation in Dreaming

Stanley R. Palombo, M.D.


Converging developments in the cognitive- and neurosciences have brought Freud's hope of a bridge between psychoanalysis and psychophysiology nearer to hand. This paper concerns the relation between dream construction and memory in terms of these new developments.

The neural network architecture of memory structures in the brain is described and illustrated with simple examples. We see how a network is connected and how connection weights vary with experience. The distributed representation stored by the network and its crucial properties for mental functioning are discussed.

These concepts are used to explain how particular memories of past events are selected for inclusion in the dream. The properties of the neural network suggest that images of distinct past events are conflated at times during the selection process. The appearance of these conflated images may complicate the matching of day residues with representations of past events in the dream itself.

Some likely implications for psychoanalytic theory are explored.

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