why do some people dream in black and white
THE FACTS In an age of high-definition television and vivid cinematography, it might seem peculiar to think that anyone would experience colorless dreams. For many people, the dream state can be the most turbulent, emotionally intense part of the day. Falling, flying, failing exams and being chased are among the most frequently reported themes
to describe their dreams. And yet for a small segment of the population, drifting off at night means reverting to a world of monochromatic hues. Childhood exposure to black-and-white television seems to be the common denominator. , for example, found that people 25 and younger say they almost never dream in black and white. But people over 55 who grew up with little access to color television reported dreaming in black and white about a quarter of the time. Over all, 12 percent of people dream entirely in black and white.
Go back a half-century, and televisionБs impact on our closed-eye experiences becomes even clearer. In the 1940s, studies showed that three-quarters of Americans, reported БrarelyБ or БneverБ seeing any color in their dreams. Now, those numbers are reversed. THE BOTTOM LINE A small percentage of people dream in black and white. It's a question that's been asked for decades: Do we dream in black and white, or in full color? There's a study that seems to think it's found the answer. Its conclusion is that some people do dream in black and white, and for many, it has to do with what you watched on TV. According to, participants in the study (conducted about a decade ago) who were over the age of 55 and had access to only black-and-white TV, movies photographs in their youth reported that they dream in black and white approximately 25% of the time.
If you're like most people today who find themselves bombarded with an abundance of colorful art and media daily, it's less likely you'll dream in black and white, but it's not impossible. For the same age group who'd seen both black-and-white and full-color media over their lifespan, the likelihood of dreams in black and white amounted to just over 7% of reported dreams. Younger participants also reported dreams in black-and-white, but it was less common. The psychologist behind the study, Eva Murzyn, "There could be a critical period in our childhood when watching films has a big impact on the way dreams are formed. " Even more remarkably, according to an article in The New York Times, a stunning three-quarters of Americans in the 1940s reported that they "rarely" or "never" dreamed in color.
Being inundated with black-and-white media effected our sleep states in the mid-century. The full arrival of color television in the late 1960s meant more than seeing Mayberry in its full splendor. It literally effected our subconscious. What are your experiences? For those Boomers who grew up before the advent of color television do you remember dreaming in black-and-white? Do people truly dream in black-and-white or are our memories just foggy when we recall the details of our dreams? Either way, we think it's advisable that we all do our part to make sure black-and-white treasures like I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, The Honeymooners and so many other classic shows have the chance to inspire greyscale dreams in every generation.
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