July 1963

Dream Research and the Psychoanalytic Theory of Dreams

Author Affiliations

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, The University of Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(1):9-18. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720130011002

I. The Experimental Findings  The recent impetus and enthusiasm for dream research began in 1953 when Aserinsky and Kleitman made an important observation while investigating electroencephalographic changes during sleep.1 They noted the presence of eye movements which could be observed directly as well as recorded on the EEG. Some of the eye movements were slow, asynchronous, and random, while others were rapid, synchronous, and conjugate. A single rapid movement was generally accomplished in 0.1 or 0.2 seconds, and a completed movement lasted as long as a second and was followed by a pause of varying duration. Although Kleitman, in studying the physiology of sleep,14 had not shown any marked previous interest in subjective psychological phenomena, he postulated that the rapid eye movements were related to the visual components of dreaming. He predicted accurately that if experimental subjects were awakened during these

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