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Goldberg, S.H. (1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: New Views on the Function of REM Sleep in the Evolution of Mammals. Edward S. Tauber and Paul B. Glovinsky. Pp. 438-445. Psychoanal Q., 59:333.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: New Views on the Function of REM Sleep in the Evolution of Mammals. Edward S. Tauber and Paul B. Glovinsky. Pp. 438-445

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:333

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: New Views on the Function of REM Sleep in the Evolution of Mammals. Edward S. Tauber and Paul B. Glovinsky. Pp. 438-445

Steven H. Goldberg

Several neurobiologists have been attempting to elucidate the neuropsychological basis of such psychoanalytic concepts as the unconscious, dream distortion, repression, and transference. For example, the half-second gap between brain registration and the completed sensory perception of stimuli is often cited as one experimental demonstration of unconscious mental activity. Regarding the functions of REM sleep, one prominent neurobiological researcher hypothesizes that REM sleep and dreaming serve processes of practicing and memory consolidation. Thus dreams are held to reflect "a cohesive, continually active mental structure which takes note of life's experiences and reacts according to its own scheme of interpretation and responses." This researcher traces the evolutionary development of REM sleep to its origins in mammalian development. Another prominent researcher has hypothesized that REM sleep functions in "reverse learning"—that is, the unloading of extraneous information which would otherwise overload neural circuits. The authors of the paper then examine the notion of critical periods for the integration of species-specific skills, along with the possibility that such critical periods may be related to changes in REM sleep, such as its well-known decrement with advancing age.

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Article Citation

Goldberg, S.H. (1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987. Psychoanal. Q., 59:333

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