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The dream as a re-conditioning process

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Abstract

The case of a little girl, in whom a fear response was set up through an intense and persistent stimulation in the form of a scare by a dog, is here reported. The response was attached specifically to this stimulus, and appeared many times during the ensuing week. A change to another environment where no such stimulation occurred resulted in the disappearance of the response for eleven months. Re-stimulation then brought forth a mild response, which was inhibited by counter stimulation. The emotional response appeared that night in full intensity in the form of a nightmare, after which the reaction was elicited in the waking life of the child by many similar kinds of objects. The strength of the fear reaction is shown by the fact that it was three and a half years before it disappeared. The nightmare is interpreted as a delayed response to the re-stimulation, and hence as a factor in the re-conditioning process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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