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Memory in Mind and Brain

Memory in Mind and Brain: What Dream Imagery Reveals

Morton F. Reiser
Copyright Date: 1993
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 232
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Memory in Mind and Brain
    Book Description:

    In this book an eminent psychiatrist integrates data from neuroscience, psychology, biology, artificial intelligence, and psychoanalysis to examine the nature of memory and dreams and to explore the crucial role of emotion in organizing memory. Establishing a correspondence between psychoanalytic and neurobiological principles, Dr. Reiser elaborates a contemporary psychobiological model of the dream process.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16216-5
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. General Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Nature keeps the secret of dreams filed in a safe deposit box. As with all such boxes, two keys are required to open it, but these are special keys in that they also provide access to two file cabinets. One of the keys unlocks a file containing neurobiologic and cognitive neuroscientific information about memory. The other unlocks a different file, this one containing clinical psychoanalytic information, also about memory. Any one of us is allowed to use either key whenever and for as long as we want, but only one at a time. Yet the secret in the safe deposit...


    • CHAPTER 1 Remembering and Forgetting in Dreaming Sleep: The Riddle of the Dream
      (pp. 15-19)

      A famous wise man was asked by two of his students to settle a heated argument about the meaning of a particularly obscure passage in a difficult text. After listening carefully to the first, he nodded in agreement: “You are right.” After listening just as carefully to the second, he again nodded: “You, too, are right.” A third student protested, “But their answers contradict each other. They can’tbothbe right!” After careful reflection, the wise man answered, “Yes. You, too, are right.”

      “Dreams are for remembering. It’s good to remember them.” (right)

      “Dreams are for forgetting. It’s better to...

    • CHAPTER 2 Sense and Nonsense in Dreams
      (pp. 20-28)

      To the sleeping dreamer, the dream experience seems real and in the present, despite the fact that it is not real and that the images and sensations of which the dream is composed actually were first registered during experiences that occurred before the dreams—often long before. The reason for the illusion is that during dreaming sleep, imagery is instigated by excitations of sensory cortex. The sleeper, not realizing that the excitatory stimuli are coming from within, cannot but interpret the images as real—that is, as if the stimuli were coming from outside, as they do during waking hours....


    • CHAPTER 3 The Dream: The Sleeping Mind at Work
      (pp. 31-53)

      While many of Freud’s ideas and theories, like those in other sciences, are based on inferences that reach beyond immediate empirical data, the epigraph given here is of a different order. It follows quite directly from observations Freud was able to make using his method of free association—trains of images, ideas, and recollections that emerged unguided and uncensored as dreams were remembered and recounted.

      The mind is active during dreaming sleep. As we shall shortly see, memory processes figure prominently in that activity—and memories often are intimately woven into the fabric of dreams. This being the case, it...

    • CHAPTER 4 A Serious Methodological Challenge
      (pp. 54-63)

      Before turning to further clinical psychoanalytic data, it would be well to confront important differences in the nature of observations in the two domains of brain and mind, and hence differences in the nature and credibility of postulated functional principles that can be inferred in each of them. These differences could turn out to be a serious matter for this study, for it is the inferred functional principles that I propose to compare, assuming that the search for similarities between postulated mind principles and postulated brain principles reveals ways in which their respective concepts may be converging. Such convergences should—...

    • CHAPTER 5 Memory and Dreams in Clinical Psychoanalytic Process: The Role of the Analyst’s Memory
      (pp. 64-92)

      This chapter reviews the clinical experiences that gave rise to the ideas and postulates discussed in preceding chapters. It culminates in a detailed exposition of the book’s central psychoanalytic hypothesis and an assertion of the special role of affect in organizing memories in the mind. Although the observations do not lend themselves to conventional methods of data analysis for reasons already discussed, they are empirical observations nonetheless, and finding ways to process them constitutes one of the critical challenges currently confronting psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline.

      Working with the psychoanalytic process and taking the nature of that process into account,...


    • CHAPTER 6 The Brain Awake: Perceiving and Remembering: There Is More to Seeing than Meets the Eye
      (pp. 95-104)

      Having derived from psychoanalytic observations a hypothesis about how the mind works, we now turn to data from neuroscience. Part 3 will examine empirical studies in cognitive neuroscience and look for evidence relevant to that hypothesis. This chapter traces the path of visual images into the brain and shows how they are broken up for separate processing of various features almost from the start. It makes clear that these images must be reassembled for viewing and storage and that doing so requires high cortical and cortical-subcortical circuits, which are to be taken up in chapter 7. An interesting new perspective...

    • CHAPTER 7 Perception, Memory and Feeling: There Is More to Memories than Remembering
      (pp. 105-126)

      The hero of this story is a monkey. We owe him a large debt of gratitude—and a share of the credit—for his mind/brain work in some highly important computations and discoveries. This monkey and others like him, in collaboration with Mortimer Mishkin and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), helped point a way toward learning things that we always wanted to know about mind/brain but didn’t know enough to ask.

      Seated comfortably in Mishkin’s laboratory, the monkey is taking a “one-trial object recognition test” (see figure 7.1). He sees a distinctive object (a circular block...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Sleeping Brain: The Physiology of Dreaming Sleep
      (pp. 127-146)

      The late Gustav Eckstein, physiologist and biographer (of Noguchi and Pavlov), was famous for other accomplishments as well, among them his astute observations and insights into the nature of animal behavior (Eckstein 1936). He loved to tell the following cat story.

      The protagonist, a sheltered family pet, always regular in his habits, developed a new behavior that startled his family, one that was quite out of keeping with his personality except for its regularity. He would disappear from home at dusk and return shortly before midnight. “Cherchez la femme,” the family’s first thought, seemed to be ruled out by the...


    • CHAPTER 9 Cabbages and Kings
      (pp. 149-156)

      Jim, a five-year-old boy whose mother is dying in the hospital, is home alone with his older sister. They have a fight; to chase her out of the room, he throws a wet washcloth at her. Running to get away, she crashes through a glass door panel, severs a major blood vessel in her arm, bleeds copiously, and is rushed to the emergency room just in time to save her life. “Remember this!

      After this incident, the father concludes that he cannot leave the children alone and sends them away to live in an institution. At age twenty-eight, early in...

    • CHAPTER 10 Mind, Metaphor, and Brain: Confronting the Conceptual Challenge
      (pp. 157-172)

      Dreaming sleep is the state of mind/brain that should—if we ask the right questions—provide clues to some important answers. Toward the end of the last chapter, the task ahead looked all but impossible: to compare data sets of such different natures. Confronting it seemed like a nightmare—an “Impossible Dream.” Still, we saw in chapter 8 that it was possible to make a good start by focusing on physiological and mental patterns of function in dreaming sleep and thinking about functional principles that can be inferred from them. But there are conceptual problems that complicate the process of...

    • CHAPTER 11 Revising Dream Theory
      (pp. 173-200)

      Virtually all the cognitive neuroscience reviewed in chapters 6, 7, 8, and 10 was unknown in 1900, when Freud published his dream theory, and this was still the case at the time of his death in 1939. Despite—or perhaps because of—the fact that he was first and always an empiricist and avid student of physiology and neurology, he chose to base the theory solely on empirical psychological observations, since no relevant physiology of the brain was then available. That he expected his theory to be explanatory in the psychological realm only must have been a disappointment to this...

  10. Epilogue: Another Dream
    (pp. 201-204)

    This book stands as an example of both the promise and the limitations of one individual effort—as competent as could be expected under current conditions—to deal in depth with one selected sector of mind/brain function. To the extent that it succeeds, it does so mainly by raising questions and providing hints—no more—in the direction of solutions. It is not enough.

    The idea of understanding mind exclusively in terms of brain function represents a distant and perhaps impossible dream. The best that the empirical sciences of mind and brain can achieve at present is the formulation of...

  11. References
    (pp. 205-212)
  12. Index
    (pp. 213-218)