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Gross, A. (1949). Sense of Time in Dreams. Psychoanal Q., 18:466-470.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:466-470

Sense of Time in Dreams

Alfred Gross, M.D.


1. The paper studies the sense of time in dreams. Only such references to time are investigated as occur in the manifest dream.

2. The two types of dream which resulted from this study show different characteristics. In the manifest dream the first type refers to time in precise figures of astronomical time; the second type alludes to time by presenting situations of frustration through time.

3. This distinction of two types of dream on account of two different forms of time reference in the manifest dream is, however, not accidental. Interpretation shows that each type of time reference in the manifest dream is correlated to a corresponding type of specific thought content which involves a specific task for the dream work. We find the first type to be a distorted expression of a highly charged and conflictual current object relationship; the second type is an (often repeated) attempt to reduce a traumatic ('tragic') frustration of the past to a trivial frustration of the present.

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