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Solms, M. (1999). The New Neuropsychology of Sleep Commentary by Mark Solms. Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):183-195.

(1999). Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):183-195

The New Neuropsychology of Sleep Commentary by Mark Solms Related Papers

Mark Solms

Allan Hobson is the leading authority on the neurophysiology of REM sleep dreaming, and his work has dominated this field for more than twenty years (McCarley and Hobson, 1975; Hobson and McCarley, 1977). Recent findings concerning the neuro psychology of dreaming, however, as Hobson himself acknowledges, need to be reconciled with the old physiological findings, and this is ushering in a new era in this field.

In his paper, Hobson has covered a vast area of knowledge. It will not be feasible for me to address all of the points that he raised. I will focus selectively on one or two things that I think are of central importance. This omits a lot else that is also of interest. I am going to structure what I have to say around six questions which I would like to pose to Professor Hobson.

I don't have any disagreement with Hobson's understanding of the essential physiological mechanisms underlying the sleep-waking cycle, including the mechanism of REM sleep. However, I do disagree with his understanding of the psychology of dreams based on those physiological mechanisms. Obviously, psychology is what interests psychoanalysts most. There has always been an uncomfortable gap between the psychological approach to dreams, as remembered subjectively by patients, and the physiological approach to dreams, as manifested objectively (apparently) by REM sleep. However, it is now possible to bridge this gap, using the insights that modern neuropsychological methods and neuro-imaging techniques can provide into the neural organization of all higher mental functions.

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