Biological Dream Theory in dream

J.A. Hadfield, in his book Dreams and Nightmares (Pelican 1954), puts forward what he calls a biological theory of dreams. He says the function of dreams is that, by reproducing difficult or unsolved situations or experi­ences, the dream aids a solving or resolution of the problems. He gives the example of a man climbing a cliff who slips fractionally. He then may dream of actually falling and waking terrified. Subsequently the dream recurs, but in each he tries out a different behaviour, such as clasping for a branch, until he manages to act appropriately to avert the disaster. He sums up by saying dreams stand in the place of experience. They make us relive areas of anxious or difficult experience. They thus help problem solving. But they not only look back at past behaviour, they act just like thinking in considering future plans and needs.

A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences by


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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

J.A. Hadfield, in his book Dreams and Nightmares (Pelican 1954), puts forward what he calls a biological theory of dreams. He says the function of dreams is that, by reproducing difficult or unsolved situations or experi­ences, the dream aids a solving or resolution of the problems. He gives the example of a man climbing a cliff who slips fractionally. He then may dream of actually falling and waking terrified. Subsequently the dream recurs, but in each he tries out a different behaviour, such as clasping for a branch, until he manages to act appropriately to avert the disaster. He sums up by saying dreams stand in the place of experience. They make us relive areas of anxious or difficult experience. They thus help problem solving. But they not only look back at past behaviour, they act just like thinking in considering future plans and needs.

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Jung, Hadfield and several other dream researchers believe the dream process is linked with homoeostasis or self regulation (see Man and His Sym­bols, Jung; Dreams and Nightmares, Hadfield; Mind and Move­ment, Crisp). This means that the process underlying dream production helps keep psychological balance, just as homoeostasis keeps body functions balanced. Put bluntly, dreams are said to compensate for conscious attitudes and personality traits. So the coldly intellectual man would have dreams expressive of feelings and the irrational, as pan of a compensatory process; the ascetic might dream of sensuous pleasures; and the lonely unloved child dreams of affection and comfon. Although dreams can be seen as self regulatory, this narrower view of compensation is only seen in a few dreams. See computers and dreams; sleep movements; sci­ence and dreams; sleep walking.

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