Do Infants Dream

The physiological signs that accompany the dreaming experience in the adult are also present in the early months after birth; indeed, they are present in higher proportions. The question of whether infants dream, however, still cannot be answered directly. With regard to subjective characteristics and content, we can make inferences on the basis of indirect evidence whose interpretations, however, vary in relation to the theoretical assumptions and the definition of dreaming adopted by various researchers.

According to David Foulkes, a dream is not a mere analog and pictorial representation of the outside world as perceived by the subject but, rather, a product of psycholinguistic processes that are largely similar to those used in the normal waking state. The peculiar quality of the dream mentation stems from the fact that the cognitive organizing processes are applied to uninhibited memory stores, rather than to the events of the outside world and that such processes occur in the particular situation of loss of voluntary control and of self-regulation induced by sleep, particulary in the REM stage. Thus, dream would be the product of a complex symbolic activity that is not possessed at birth but acquired, in parallel with the development of cognitive-linguistic development. Supported by a longitudinal study conducted in the sleep laboratory, Foulkes claims that "young children may fail to report dreams because they are not having them, rather than because they have forgotten them or are unable to verbalize their contents.''

This view is considerably influenced by cognitive approaches oriented more toward studying the mind as an organ of pure cognition. Other researchers place greater emphasis on "sentient" aspects of the mind, and in any case believe it more parsimonious to postulate the ability of dreaming also in the first stages of life. Following this line of reasoning, the researcher is prompted to consider different levels of development of dreaming "skills" and to accept the idea that an infant can experience emotions and fictive visual and kinesthetic sensations. At any rate, the use of narrative as the largely prevalent method to report experiences that may have multimodal origins, though understandable, poses a strong limitation to the interpretation of the data available in the literature.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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