The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research

The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research

KENTON KROKER
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 496
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt1287rth
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  • Book Info
    The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research
    Book Description:

    Examining a vast historical period of 2500 years, Kroker separates the problems associated with the history of dreaming from those associated with sleep itself and charts sleep-related diseases such as narcolepsy, insomnia, and sleep apnea.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2778-9
    Subjects: History of Science & Technology, General Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    This investigation is dominated, from start to finish, by a single question. Tonight, thousands of patients around the world will have their sleep observed in a laboratory. Why?

    The simple answer, of course, is that these people are ill. They sleep in a special lab, generally found within a sleep clinic. The laboratory contains special equipment and medical staff that together observe the patient’s sleep in order to help determine the nature of his or her illness, and perhaps also to prescribe and test a course of treatment. But it takes little effort to consider a world in which such...

  5. 1 The Persistence of Privacy
    (pp. 18-70)

    How is it that people feel justified in claiming that they know anything at all about dreams? Such claims fly in the face of experience. After all, what could be more absurd than listening patiently to someone recount their dream, only to respond with ‘You’re lying – you couldn’t have dreamed that.’ When this very scene unfolded in the dark comedyThe Young Poisoner’s Handbook(1995), the joke was on the psychiatrist who claimed to be able to distinguish genuine dream accounts from fabricated ones. The dreamer in question here is a character named Graham Young, who poisons most of his...

  6. 2 Analogize and Experiment
    (pp. 71-120)

    The nineteenth-century origins of psychophysiology – the experimental study of relationships between physiological process and psychological phenomena – can be traced back to efforts to study circulating blood in the brain. If the brain was indeed the organ of mind, so the argument went, then the dynamic processes within must somehow reflect mental events. Anatomical approaches, such as those adopted by phrenology, could merely illustrate the material framework of such processes. The cerebral circulation, on the other hand, held out other possibilities. Blood was the nutriment of the brain, and the study of its movement was inspired by the hope that it...

  7. 3 The Ends of Darkness
    (pp. 121-177)

    Despite its ambivalent reception when it was first published late in 1899, Freud’s most popular book,The Interpretation of Dreams, became an indispensable text for the study of dreaming within a decade. Books on dream interpretation had been a best-selling genre since the mid nineteenth century, but Freud’s was novel to the extent that his analysis incorporated biological principles in place of prognostication. The most important of these was teleology, a problem that dominated contemporary debates over the nature of life.¹ Dreams, argued Freud, served a purpose. They protected sleep by disguising memories of desires that were normally aroused but...

  8. 4 Inhibition and Disease
    (pp. 178-204)

    Just as Piéron, the young psychologist, was moving towards physiology, Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist well into middle age, was making gestures towards psychology. Sleep proved a useful meeting ground for each. Pavlov (1849–1936) began his investigations of ‘higher nervous activity’ around 1901 and two years later, when he was based at the Military Medical Academy in St Petersburg, presented his first paper on conditioned reflexes, at the XIV International Congress of Physiology in Madrid.¹ In that paper, he described the concept of ‘conditioned reflexes’ as an outgrowth of his work in the physiology of digestion, for which he...

  9. 5 Performing Sleep
    (pp. 205-254)

    Nathaniel Kleitman (1895–1999) is a pivotal figure in the history of twentieth-century sleep research in North America. Before Kleitman, sleep was an interesting but incidental topic of research for physiologists and psychologists alike. Claparède, who first proposed a biological theory of sleep, actually conducted little research in this field. Likewise, Piéron more or less abandoned the problem of sleep for the physiology of sensation shortly after publishing his dissertation in 1913. Pavlov came to the study of sleep only late in his career, and Vaschide’s premature death cut short his well-developed interest in the subject. Economo also died at...

  10. 6 Sleep Finds a Groove
    (pp. 255-324)

    Neither Nathaniel Kleitman nor Edmund Jacobson can be given exclusive credit for discovering rapid eye movements. Despite their mutual interest in the nature of sleep and their familiarity with the latest biophysical technologies, Kleitman and Jacobson both turned a blind eye to the prospect that dreams might have a rigid regularity about them. This was not a real question for them, because, as we saw in chapter 5, the idea that sleep was best represented as an experience remained at the core of their investigational projects. This is not to deny that animal experimentation was inconsequential for Kleitman, or to...

  11. 7 Begin the Begin
    (pp. 325-348)

    ‘I find that I am dreaming with increasing clarity (lucidity?) but they remain mysterious. I cannot connect them to [my] “emotional” domain (either latent or immediate). Further, try as I will, I cannot make connections to my “memory” domain (either remote or immediate). And, most remarkably, few of the participants are familiar. That latter fact has always been the most puzzling aspect of dreams that no “theory” seems to deal with effectively.’¹

    So wrote Wilse B. Webb (b. 1920), a psychologist at the University of Florida, Gainesville, in a letter around 1990. The tone of the letter is a testament...

  12. 8 Insomnia Returns
    (pp. 349-394)

    Insomnia has proven a crucial component of the medical knowledge of sleep at various times during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By the late nineteenth century, ‘nervous’ or ‘neurasthenic’ Americans began to include sleeplessness as an important symptom of their distress. The 1920s and 1930s saw the evolution of the full-blown insomniac, whose routine struggle for adequate sleep provided psychiatrists and neurologists with a typology, and patients with an identity. Psychoanalysis had identified sleep as something so necessary for mental powerful new class of hypnotic drugs, the barbiturates, health that dreams had evolved to protect sleep. Psychiatrists, following Pavlov, used...

  13. 9 Breathe
    (pp. 395-428)

    Insomnia research was not simply killed off by the intransigence of the disease, the recriminalization of addiction, or ambivalence about the role of PSG in its diagnosis. Positive factors were also at work. The attention of practising sleep researchers was rapidly turning towards an entirely new disorder, sleep apnea; in the process, a new and different kind of sleep researcher, unconcerned with the classic problems of mind and body that had marked neuropsychiatry for the last century, now began to dominate the field. Unlike insomnia, sleep apnea was unlikely to be considered a psychiatric disorder, since its primary symptoms featured...

  14. Epilogue
    (pp. 429-432)

    In the summer of 1935, when Martin Heidegger presented this question to his audience at the University of Freiburg, he effectively ruled out the notion that it might, at least in part, be answered by historical research.¹ History, after all, traded in the particulars of existence, while the foundational problem of metaphysics was that of the transcendental nature of Being. There was, of course, a history of Being. But Heidegger inevitably presented this history in a tragic mode. It began with the invention of reason in pre-Socratic philosophy and culminated in the forgetting of Being and the modern regime of...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 433-502)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 503-524)
  17. Index
    (pp. 525-533)