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Stein, H.H. (2001). Ongoing Discussion of J. Allan Hobson (Vol. 1, No. 2) Commentary by Herbert Stein. Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(2):243-244.

(2001). Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(2):243-244

Ongoing Discussion of J. Allan Hobson (Vol. 1, No. 2) Commentary by Herbert Stein

Herbert H. Stein, M.D.

As a sidebar to the ongoing discussion of dreams, I should like to propose an idea concerning the relationship of dreams to the very early development of mental processes in the hopes that others will find it of interest. My hypothesis is that the infant develops its first “hallucinatory image,” its first image that is not directly related to current perception, as its first dream during REM sleep. Freud gave us a model in chapter 7 of The Interpretation of Dreams in which the hungry, unsatisfied infant hallucinates an image, taken from memory, of taking in milk from the breast.

A hungry baby screams or kicks helplessly. But the situation remains unaltered, for the excitations arising from an internal need is not due to a force producing a momentary impact but to one which is in continuous operation. A change can only come about if in some way or other (in the case of the baby through outside help) an “experience of satisfaction” can be achieved which puts an end to the internal stimulus. An essential component of this experience of satisfaction is a particular perception (that of nourishment in our example) the mnemic image of which remains associated thenceforward with the memory trace of the excitation produced by the need. As a result of the link that has thus been established, next time this need arises a psychical impulse will at once emerge which will seek to re-cathect the mnemic image of the perception and to re-evoke the perception itself, that is to say, to re-establish the situation of the original satisfaction.

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