Dreams

Skinner (1953) saw dreams as covert and symbolic forms of behavior that are subject to the same contingencies of reinforcement as other behaviors are. He agreed with Freud that dreams may serve a wish-fulfillment purpose. Dream behavior is reinforcing when repressed sexual or aggressive stimuli are allowed expression. To act out sexual fantasies and to actually inflict damage on an enemy are two behaviors likely to be associated with punishment. Even to covertly think about these behaviors may have punitive effects, but in dreams these behaviors may be expressed symbolically and without any accompanying punishment.

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