When Thoughts Run Out of Control: The Vicissitudes of Falling Asleep

Time and Location
Saturday May 27, 2006, 9:00 AM - 10:20 AM

What are the consequences of losing control over one’s thoughts in dreamlike mentation? The symposium will address this issue by presenting research on mindwandering, hypnagogic mentation, and dreams. Special attention will be given to suppression-induced rebound effects that might underlie clinical symptoms such as insomnia and posttraumatic nightmares.

Ralph E. Schmidt (Chair)  [E-mail Presenter]
University of Geneva, Switzerland

Malia F. Mason  [E-mail Presenter]
Massachusetts General Hospital
A Cognitive Neuroscience Investigation of Mindwandering and the Experience of Stimulus-Independent Thought
Results of behavioral and fMRI studies will be presented that indicate that the default network (a set of brain regions active during "rest" periods in functional imaging studies)is associated with mindwandering, and that specific aspects of this network influence how mindwandering is experienced.

Allison G. Harvey  [E-mail Presenter]
University of California, Berkeley
'I Can't Sleep, My Mind is Racing': The Management of Unwanted Thought in Chronic Insomnia
Patients with insomnia often suppress the thoughts that they perceive to be interfering with their sleep. A series of studies will be presented that examine the hypothesis that attempting to stop or suppress cognitive arousal may be counterproductive and serves to perpetuate cognitive arousal in patients with chronic insomnia.

Ralph E. Schmidt  [E-mail Presenter]
University of Geneva, Switzerland
Hypnagogic Upheaval: The Return of a Suppressed Thought at Sleep-Onset
Results of a sleep-laboratory study will be presented that show a rebound of a suppressed thought in hypnagogic mentation. This finding may contribute to a new understanding of insomnia: suppression might install a vicious circle, the rebound interrupting the process of falling asleep and intensifying the efforts of suppression.

Grant J. Devilly  [E-mail Presenter]
Swinburne University
Suppressing Unwanted Thoughts and Dream Rebound
Richard A. Bryant, University of New South Wales. Two studies will be presented that investigated the effects of thought suppression on dream content in two different samples: participants with high or low levels of suppression tendency, and patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Results indicate that suppressing unwanted thoughts may lead to a « dream rebound ».

Megan N. Kozak (Discussant)
Roosevelt University, Chicago

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