Brain Mechanisms of Dreaming

Freud’s theories on dreams and subsequent studies of the brain mechanisms of dreaming.

  • Tue 20 Feb 18

    17:00 - 18:30

  • Colchester Campus

    Senate Room 4.772

  • Event speaker

    Professor Mark Solms, University of Cape Town

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of

  • Contact details

    Debbie Stewart

In 1900, Sigmund Freud published his landmark book The Interpretation of Dreams, in which he claimed that dreams are meaningful psychological acts which (1) attempt to fulfil wishes arises during sleep and (2) attempt to protect sleep.

Karl Popper famously claimed that Freud’s theories were pseudoscientific, since they were unfalsifiable. However, between the 1950s and 1970s a series of neuroscientific studies were reported (using methods not previously unavailable) which seemed to falsify Freud’s theory.

These studies pivoted around the discovery of the brain mechanisms of REM sleep, which Allan Hobson described as mindless, meaningless and motivationally neutral – an automatic physiological process.

This event will focus on subsequent studies, conducted by the speaker between 1997 and 2017, which demonstrate that the brain mechanisms of dreaming are dissociable from those of REM sleep - and anything but motivationally neutral. His most recent findings (not yet published) suggest that dreams may very well serve the function of protecting sleep.

The Speaker

Professor Mark Solms holds the Chair of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital. He is an 'A1' rated researcher of the National Research Foundation and recipient of numerous prizes and honours, such as the Sigourney Prize and Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Psychiatrists.

He is Director of the Science Dept of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Research Chair of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He has published 350 articles in both neuroscientific and psychoanalytic journals, and he has authored eight scientific books. The Brain and the Inner World was translated into 12 languages. His collected papers were published recently as The Feeling Brain.

He is the editor and translator of the forthcoming Revised Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (24 vols) and Complete Neuroscientific Works of Sigmund Freud (4 vols). 

Register your place

Entry is free and open to all.

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