The Psychological Record

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 613–627 | Cite as

A Behavioral Analysis of Dreaming

  • Mark R. Dixon
  • Linda J. Hayes


The behavior of dreaming has not received much attention from the behavioral community. Therefore, the purpose of the present paper is to provide a comprehensive behavior analytic interpretation of dreams. First, the paper briefly traces the development of dream theory from Greek philosophy, through empiricistic accounts, to the growing trend towards physiological explanations. Second, the paper discusses the existing behavioral interpretations of dreams based on the works of B. F. Skinner and of J. R. Kantor. Third, the paper suggests an alternative behavior analytic interpretation of dreaming based on the substitution of stimulus functions, and the performance of implicit actions lacking in order and effectiveness. Last, the paper provides suggestions as to the nature of dream research and to the understanding of dream meaning from a behavioral perspective.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark R. Dixon
    • 1
  • Linda J. Hayes
    • 2
  1. 1.Trinity Services, Inc.JolietUSA
  2. 2.University of NevadaUSA

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