NECSI Resources

 International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2007)

Two continua in mental functioning: Focused waking to dreaming, and "Thick to thin Boundaries.

Ernest Hartmann
NECSI Director, Tufts U.

     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: October 22, 2007

A great deal of our research demonstates a continuum -- a personality dimension, running from very "thick" to very "thin boundaries." This is usually considered a longstanding "trait."

A differeent body of research demonstrates a continuum of mental functioning, running from focused waking activity, though reverie and daydrasming, to dreaming. These are usully considered "states."

This presentation will present new research and argue that these two continua are basically the same continuum. For instance, we show that while dreams are scored more "bizarre" and "dream-like" ( established scales) than daydreams, the daydreams of students with "thin boundaries"
are scored as bizarre and as dreamlike as the dreams of students with "thick boundaries."

Both continua refer to the functioning of, and activtion patterns in, the cerebral cortex. Brain imaging studies have shown some broad patterns involving regions of activation, but have not yet demonstrated the relevant pattterns of spread of activation. We suggest that the "thick boundary"/focused waking thought end of the continuum is characterized by serial, hierarchical, feed-forward, closely channeled patterens of activation, while the "thin boundary"/dreaming end of the continuum involves broader, hybrid or auto-associative-net activation patterns.

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