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D. Dreams

You might wish to take the Typical Dreams Questionnaire (Dream and Nightmare Laboratory; Sacre-Coeur Hospital, Montreal)

The Phenomenon of Dreaming

Content of Dreams (Domhoff, 2001)

Based on work of Calvin Hall and others ==> 4 themes

  • Changed relatively little in 20th century
  • Little change in content once adulthood is reached: older adults dream about the same things as college students do. (Repetition Principle)
  • Stable cross-cultural similarities & differences
    • Males dream twice as often about males as about females; females dream equally about males & females
    • M & F: aggression > friendliness; misfortune > good fortunes; negative > positive emotions
    • Animals: small traditional societies > industrialized societies
    • Aggression: M > F
  • Continuity between concerns of waking life and dream content (Continuity Principle)

Explanations: Why Do We Dream?

Freud   Cartwright   Hobson  Domhoff

Wish Fulfillment (Sigmund Freud)

Problem-Solving (Rosalind Cartwright)

Activation-Synthesis (J. Allan Hobson)

Neurocognitive Theory (G. William "Bill" Domhoff)

E. Hypnosis


 Franz Anton Mesmer & Mesmerism

  • The late 18th century Viennese physician, Franz Mesmer, "borrowed" (stole) an idea from the Jesuit, Fr. Maximillian Hell, who used magnets to "cure" people of illness.
  • Mesmer argued that there was an interior "animal magnetism" which he could manipulate for the health of people by laying on his hands.
  • Mesmer had discovered the power of suggestion (also called "the placebo effect").
  • Scottish physician, James Braid, coined the term hypnotism to identify the trance-like state induced in subjects by later followers of Mesmer, the "mesmerists".


F. Mesmer (L)    J. Braid (R)


Fr. Maximillian Hell, S.J.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is defined by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis as "a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention."


  • Myth #1: Fear that hypnosis will cause a loss of control or a surrender of will to the hypnotist
  • Myth #2: Fear that hypnosis will cause a loss of memory or amnesia for what happened during hypnosis. This is true for only a small percentage of subjects and, usually, only if suggested by hypnotist.

[Sarbin @ 2004 APA] What explains hypnosis?

Two rival theories continue to dominate the debate

Role Playing (Nick Spanos [died 1994], Ted Barber, Ted Sarbin)


Altered State of Consciousness (Ernest "Jack" Hilgard, Martin Orne)



This page was originally posted on 11/14/03 and last updated on 11/20/06