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The Lost SelfPathologies of the Brain and Identity$
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Todd E. Feinberg and Julian Paul Keenan

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173413

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173413.001.0001

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The Self in Dreams

The Self in Dreams

(p.206) 14 The Self in Dreams
The Lost Self


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the nature of the self's secret life in the dream world by drawing together the results that systematic studies of the phenomenological content of dreams have revealed. The self in our dreams is a bodily representation of our waking self. It is a behaviorally active self that shows a regular pattern of cognitive deficits. The dream self suffers from amnesia and diminished critical thinking but is unaware of its own deficits. It is immersed into the center of a simulated world where dangerous, threatening events appear with considerable frequency. Those events are mostly based on emotionally charged memory traces from real-life experiences of threats. The biological function of this nocturnal simulation remains controversial: Some believe that the dream world arises in the sleeping brain for no particular reason at all. By contrast, the threat simulation theory suggests that perhaps the dream self was forced to face simulated threats during dreaming so that the brain would be prepared to face real threats during wakefulness.

Keywords:   self, dreaming, dream world

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