Form and Content: The Development of Dreaming and the Content of Dreams

Ernest Hartmann

in The Nature and Functions of Dreaming

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199751778
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863419 | DOI:
Form and Content: The Development of Dreaming and the Content of Dreams

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The previous chapters summarized the connectivity of dreaming—the making of connections—in many senses and have followed this connection-making down to the level of connections between neurons. This chapter now looks at the product of these connections, the dream itself, and examines the form and content of our actual dreaming. It focuses on two areas of study that are very relevant to our theory of dreaming: the formal development of dreaming in childhood and then studies of “content analysis”—the attempt to pin down in detail the elements that actually occur in the dream. It emphasizes two important and surprising findings: the very gradual and late development of “dreaming skills” in childhood, and the finding that men's (and boys') dreams have twice as many male characters as female characters; it examines what light these may shed on the Contemporary Theory of Dreaming.

Keywords: form; childhood dreaming; dream content analysis; dreaming skills; male dreams

Chapter.  5447 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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