The Limits of Dream book cover

The Limits of Dream

A Scientific Exploration of the Mind / Brain Interface

The Limits of Dream focuses on what we currently know of the human central nervous system (CNS), examining the basic sciences of neurochemisty, neuroanatomy, and CNS electrophysiology as these sciences apply to dream, then reaching beyond basic science to examine the cognitive science of dreaming including the processes of memory, the perceptual interface, and visual imagery. Building on what is known of intrapersonal CNS processing, the book steps outside the physical body to explore artificially created dreams and their use in filmmaking, art and story, as well as the role of dreaming in creative process and creative “madness.” The limits of our scientific knowledge of dream frame this window that can be used to explore the border between body and mind. What is known scientifically of the cognitive process of dreaming will lead the neuroscientist, the student of cognitive science, and the general reader down different paths than expected into an exploration of the fuzzy and complex horizon between mind and brain.

* Cognitive neuroscientists, particularly those interested in sleep and dream, memory and creativity. * Philosophers and students of philosophy interested in assessing new developments in philosophy of mind. * Psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians interested in brain function.* Computer scientists focused on the development of neural networks and other aspects of brain/mind interface.* Psychoanalysts and individuals with an interest in the development and application of psychoanalytic perspectives.

Hardbound, 250 Pages

Published: March 2008

Imprint: Academic Press

ISBN: 978-0-12-374215-5


  • "Jim Pagel's The Limits of Dream delves into the scientific, philosophical, creative and psychological aspects of this very human phenomenon and manages to be both coherent and consistently interesting. The only other book I've read about dreams told you how to play the horses." --John Sayles, Director, Writer, and Actor

    "This wonderfully creative book, based on the author's many original studies of sleep and dreams, as well as his masterful knowledge the relevant fields in neuroscience, provides us with a new theory of dreaming as well as a devastating critique of the highly visible but simplistic neurophysiological theories of dreams that have been on the stage for all too long." -G. William Domhoff, Research Professor in Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz

    "This marvelous book starts from research neuropsychology and blazes on into the intricate beauty and creativities of dream phenomenology and cognition, and all that bridging into film as dream and dream as film. Its breadth and philosophical sophistication are unique in dream studies. It is a major achievement." Harry T. Hunt, Psychology, Brock University

    "Dr. Pagel is an extremely well regarded researcher in both the worlds of sleep and of dreams. What he is proposing is quite unique and could be an important "bridging" book between these two domains who have unfortunately had a previous relationship somewhat analogous to one of being water and oil." -Bob van de Castle, University of Virginia Medical Center and former president of the Association for the Study of Dreams


  • Acknowledgements


    Chapter 1 Introduction


    Dreams as Windows

    But, Is REM Sleep Dreaming?

    The Event Horizon

    The Limits of Dream

    Section 1 Definitions and the Search for Truth

    Chapter 2 Mind/Plato’s Cave


    Limits of the Cartesian Perspective

    What is Mind?


    Psychoanalytic Approaches

    Alternative Perspectives

    Chapter 3 A Dream can be Gazpacho


    Section 2 The Biological Substrate of Dream

    Chapter 4 The Neuroanatomy of Dreaming

    The Neuroanatomy of REMS

    The Neuropathology of Dreaming

    The Neuroanatomy of Dreaming

    Chapter 5 The Neurochemistry of Dreaming

    REMS Neurochemistry

    Medications Affecting Sleep

    Medications Affecting Dreaming

    Primary Neurotransmitters Affecting Sleep and Dreaming






    Neurotransmitter Modulating Systems

    Dreaming and Nightmares: Neurotransmitter Systems

    Agents Affecting Conscious Interaction with the Environment Anesthetics

    Agents Affecting Host Defense

    The Neurochemistry of Dreams and Nightmares

    Chapter 6 The Electrophysiology of Dreaming

    The EEG

    Functional Roles for CNS Electrical Fields

    Evidence for a Functioning Extracellular Electrical

    System in the CNS

    Drug Effects

    Disease States

    The Electrophysiology of Dreams

    Chapter 7 The Complexity of Dreams: Neural networks and Consciousness

    Biological Applications of Neural Net Theories

    The Dreams of Neural Networks

    Complexity of the Biologic System

    The Limits of Dream


    The Neurological Substrate of Dream

    Section 3 Studying the Cognitive Substrate of Dreaming

    Chapter 8 Dreams and Sleep: The Substrate Hypothesis

    Dream Recall in Insomnia

    Insomnia and Nightmare Recall Frequency

    The Association Between Sleep and Mind

    Chapter 9 Dreaming and Memory

    Memory and Dreams

    Imagery and Intrinsic Memory

    Dream Recall

    Dream content

    EveryDay Memory and Mind

    Dream Use

    Memory and Mind


    The Brain/Computer Interface


    Artificial Intelligence

    The Perceptual Interface

    The Motor Interface

    Computation and Thought


    Problem Solving

    The Capabilities of Artificial Systems

    Section 4 The Cognitive Process of Dreaming

    Chapter 11 Emotions and Dream

    Frightening Dreams

    Emotions and Dreaming

    Emotions and Mind

    Emotional Dreaming

    Chapter 12 Exploring the Visual Interface

    Visual Consciousness

    The Visual Representation of Space


    Dream Imagery

    Artificial Dream Imagery - Filmmaking

    Visual Components of Dreaming

    Chapter 13 Thinking and Dreaming

    Thinking in Dreams

    Bizarreness in Dreams

    Associative Thought in Dreams

    The Neurological Basis of Thought

    Thinking and the Mind

    Section 5 The Cognitive Organization of Dreaming

    What we know

    The Formal Structure of Dreaming

    Chapter 14 Hallucinations and Dreams

    Dream-Like Phenomena

    Parasomnias and Unusual Dreams

    Are Dreams Hallucinations?

    Chapter 15 Dreaming and Storytelling

    The Narrative Structure of Thought

    The Mythic Structure of Story

    Dreams in Literature

    Dreams in Screenplay

    The Limits of Dream Imagery

    The Power of the Story

    Chapter 16 Film: The Projected Dream

    Moving Pictures

    The Visual Language of Film

    Visual Imagery and Film

    Apparatus Theory

    Film Theory

    Section 6 Functional uses for Dreaming

    Chapter 17 Creativity

    The Gestalt of Creativity

    The Creative Personality

    Psychoanalytic Creativity

    Creativity as Divergent Thinking

    The Disorder of Creativity

    Dreaming Creatively

    Chapter 18 Non-Dreaming or the Use of Dreams in Creativity

    Creativity in the Sleep Laboratory

    Dream Use and Creative Interest


    The Creativity of Non-dreamers

    Chapter 19 Dream use by Filmmakers

    Screenwriters and Their Use of Dreams

    Scriptwriting: The Dream-Like Process

    Incubating a Screenplay

    Dream Use by Directors

    Dream Use by Actors

    Sundance Interviews: Actors

    Sundance Questionnaire Responses: Actors


    Dream Use in the Creative Process

    Chapter 20 Dreaming and Artists

    Dream Use in Creativity: Psychopathology

    Creativity and Dreaming

    Borders of Mind

    Section 7 Models of Mind and Brain

    Chapter 21 Models of Mind = Brain

    Transmission-Line Neuro-Processing


    Alternative Monist Theories

    Massively Parallel Neuro-Processing

    Physiologic CNS Electrical Rhythms

    Problems with Monists

    Chapter 22 Mind not Brain: The Cartesian Psychoanalyst

    Diseases of the Mind: The Psychoanalytic Approach

    The Limitations of Psychoanalysis in the Diagnosis

    Treatment of Psychiatric Illness

    Psychoanalysis and the Structure of Mind

    Cartesian Psychoanalysis

    The Psychoanalytic Perspective of Mind

    The Cartesian Psychoanalyst

    Chapter 23 Viewing the Border Between Brain and Mind: A Modified Cartesian Perspective

    Modified Cartesian Models

    Visualizing the Mind/Brain Border

    Dreaming Across the Border

    Chapter 24 The Limits of Dream

    Brain-Based Correlates of Mind

    Mind-Based Cognitive Processes

    The Limits of Knowledge: Borders




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