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                Images]   Variations in Consciousness II: Dreams and Hypnosis (Outline)

C. Sleeping (cont'd)

Why do we sleep? We don't know, but....      [Not in book]

1. Energy Conservation & Body Healing

2. Memory Consolidation !!!!

Sleep Cycles & Memory Consolidation

3. Toxic Waste Removal (New)

Glympatic system

Additional Comments

D. Dreams

The Phenomenon of Dreaming

Content of Dreams (Domhoff, 2001)

Calvin Hall:

  • Few changes over 20th century
  • Repetition Principle
  • Stable cross-cultural similarities & differences
    • Males, Females
  • Continuity Principle

Explanations: Why Do We Dream?

Freud   Cartwright   Hobson Domhoff

Wish Fulfillment (Sigmund Freud)


Activation-Synthesis (Hobson)

No Adaptive Function, but still Meaningful (Domhoff)

E. Hypnosis

 Franz Anton Mesmer & Mesmerism
  • Franz Mesmer (Vienna, student in Jesuit College)
  • "animal magnetism"
  • the power of suggestion (also called "the placebo effect").
  • James Braid coined the term hypnotism to identify the trance-like state induced in subjects by later followers of Mesmer, the "mesmerists".
(Fr. Hell)

What is hypnosis?

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

  • Anesthesia (pain relief)
  • Sensory distortion & hallucinations
  • Disinhibition (see below Myth #1)
  • Posthypnotic Suggestion & Amnesia (see below Myth #2)


  • 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.

What explains hypnosis?

[Sarbin @ 2004 APA] Two rival theories continue to dominate the debate

Role Playing (Nick Spanos, Ted Sarbin) = minority view

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


This page was originally posted on 11/14/03 and last updated on November 24, 2016