Now an Invasion by a Freudian Concept-Snatcher: Reply to Erdelyi


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Abstract

This article provides a detailed reply to a Freudian-oriented critique of “The invasion of the concept snatchers: The origins, distortions, and future of the continuity hypothesis” (Domhoff, 2017). According to the critique, the continuity hypothesis (the idea that most dreams enact the same concerns present in waking thought) is old hat, going back to the 19th century, and furthermore was a part of Freud’s thinking. This reply suggests that the critic often misunderstands what is said in the original article and that all of his substantive criticisms are wrong. Academic psychologists have rejected every substantive hypothesis concerning dreams put forth by Freud. Nor is there any evidence that free associations lead to an understanding of the formation of dreams or of dream content. Claims about subliminal stimulation in relation to dreams have been refuted. The questionnaire study of the dreams of amputees is inadequate and is contradicted by studies of dream reports from amputees and paraplegics. The comparisons of dreams with jokes are irrelevant. An analysis of Freud and Hobson’s anecdotal personal dreams cannot be taken seriously as scientific evidence. Contrary to the claims in the critique, the continuity hypothesis owes nothing to Freud or any other clinical theorist. The several reasons why the Freudian aspects of Hall’s theoretical work on dreams were abandoned are carefully summarized and are not in any way part of the current version of the continuity hypothesis or of the neurocognitive theory of dreams of which the continuity hypothesis is now a part (Domhoff, 2018).

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