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October 06, 2007, 3:30 PM

Daydreaming, Night-Dreaming, and Stimulus-Independent Thought

Participants: John Antrobus, Eric Klinger, Malia Mason, Ethel Person, Jerome Singer (moderator)

The roundtable will address behavioral, clinical, and brain-imaging studies of off-line cognitive processes. The central question: How does science approach the seemingly ephemeral human thought activities of ongoing conscious fantasies or mentation during sleep and propose and test theories about such processes? New data from neuroscience imaging as well as clinical applications of research on human fantasy will be reviewed in the course of the discussion. The psychoanalytic understanding of dreams, daydreams and fantasy, as well as the difference between them, will also be addressed, and the correspondence, or lack thereof, with neuroscientific findings will be attempted.

John Antrobus is Emeritus Head of the Ph.D. program in Cognitive Neuroscience at City College of New York. He currently studies neural computation attractor utility models that represent how neuro-cognitive processes in one brain region bias those of other regions to produce perceptual and off-line thought and imagery. This interest developed out of his early research on the interaction between perception and waking off-line thought and imagery, as well as on dreaming sleep, carried out as a doctoral student at Columbia Univiversity, and later at City College, in collaboration with Jerome L. Singer.

Eric Klinger is Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Morris and (adjunct) Minneapolis. His research activities focus on motivational processes, especially as these and emotional processes influence attention, recall, and thought content. He has contributed to basic theory of motivation and its extension to substance use, treatment of alcoholism, and depression. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Psychological Association, as well as Charter Fellow of the American Psychological Society, he is the author of more than 100 journal and chapter publications and the author or editor of five books.

Malia Mason received her doctorate from Dartmouth University, where she studied Social Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. After completing her Ph.D. she worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Columbia University. Dr. Mason's research interests include: daydreaming, prospection, and social perception.

Ethel Person is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytical Training and Research. Dr. Person, along with Dr. Arnold Cooper and Dr. Glen Gabbard, edited the APPI Textbook of Psychoanalysis, published in 2005. She is the author of Feeling Strong: The Achievement of Authentic Power, The Sexual Century, and By Force of Fantasy: How We Make Our Lives. In 2006 American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. reprinted her book Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion. She has edited 11 other books and contributed over 100 papers to the psychiatric and psychoanalytic literature.

Jerome L. Singer holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychoanalysis. In addition to clinical practice, he served as Director of the Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology, first at the City University of New York and subsequently at Yale University. His research areas have included laboratory, psychometric, and developmental studies of daydreaming, consciousness and cognition, and personality. His books include Daydreaming, The Power of Human Imagination, and Imagery in Psychotherapy.


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