Dreams: Understanding Biology, Psychology, and Culture

2 vols. Greenwood. Jan. 2019. 823p. ed. by ed. by Robert J. Hoss & others. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440856167. $182; ebk. ISBN 9781440856174. REF
Less about dream interpretation, this work from Hoss (director, International Assn. for the Study of Dreams [IASD]), Katja Valli (cognitive neuroscience, Univ. of Skävde, Sweden), and Robert P. Gongloff (formerly, secretary, board chair, & president, IASD) examines scientific, cultural, sociological, and psychological approaches to understanding how and why people dream. Contributors from a variety of backgrounds (academics and practitioners, journalists, artists, medical professionals, and more) and countries discuss biology, neuroscience, evolutionary theories, sleep architecture and function, whether animals dream, and spiritual treatment of dreams. Articles are signed and contain tables, figures, and research overviews. Many of the coauthored chapters contain multiple articles that segue smoothly into one another. Organized by chapter and appearing in the back of the second volume rather than at the end of each chapter, the bibliography includes resources from 1928 through 2017. The index is awkward to read, as subheadings run into each other. Despite these slight flaws, however, this set distinguishes itself with its broad coverage—most titles on the subject concentrate only on one or two specific areas.
VERDICT An approachable, scholarly work on a topic that many find fascinating, this encyclopedia will appeal to both public and academic communities in the hard and soft sciences.

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