The Mind: Learning Through Dreaming

As Freud saw it, dreams provide psychic gratification for suppressed desires. Researchers in the growing science of sleep-watching suspect that their mysterious function is much broader than that. The latest findings, as presented to the annual meeting of the Association for the Psychophysiological Study of Sleep, are beginning to confirm the link, hitherto experimentally unproved, between dreams and conscious functioning. In dreaming, the experts now surmise, the healthy mind brings its emotional experience to bear on the stresses of the day and forges new mental mechanisms for dealing with them when they recur.

The source of this conviction was the discovery...

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