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Title: REM sleep patterning and dream recall in convergers and divergers
Author: Holmes, Michael
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1977
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This thesis investigates the hypothesis that convergent and divergent thinking reflect different defensive preferences - convergers inclining towards repression, divergers to intellectual modes of defence. To test this claim, individuals' reactions to their own dreams - a rich source of threatening material, according to psychoanalytic theory - were investigated. Utilising all-night electrophysiological monitoring of sleep, recall following awakenings from REM (dream) sleep was contrasted for convergent and divergent groups. The convergers did prove poorer at recalling dream content, but only from those awakenings that, it had been postulated, might elicit threatening material. Convergers recall of non-threatening material (control awakenings) actually proved slightly better than for their divergent counterparts. These findings were taken to support the view that convergers more typically resort to repressive defensive measures. Comparing REM sleep between the two groups on undisturbed nights, divergers were found to spend more time nightly in this stage of sleep than convergers. In addition, the REM sleep of divergers was characterised by a much lower density of eye movements. A closer analysis revealed that divergers spent much more time in substantial episodes of REM sleep without eye movements. This finding was taken to reflect a divergent preference for intellectual modes of defence, having previously speculated that, during these episodes without eye movements, secondary revision of threatening dream experience may occur. The lower density of eye movements discharged by divergers was also attributable, in part, to a tendency for convergers to spend more time in episodes of sustained eye movement activity. Moreover, convergers exhibited a longer first period of REM sleep than divergers (against the overall trend) and a shorter REM sleep latency - all of which suggest a greater need for REM sleep and, arguably, its psychological concomitant, dreaming. This pattern was seen as support for psychological compensation, convergers making up for less imaginative day-time experience with more immediate and more intense dreaming.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available