Dreaming in Black and White

Personally I have a really hard time remembering my dreams when I wake up in the morning. Many of my friends however can wake up in the morning and recall their dream so vividly. They know every color, and every detail that happened throughout the scene. Although most of us have the ability to dream so vividly and in color, there is a percentage of people who do not.  Black and white dreams are not a common thing, but they are definitely out there. Black and white dreams have two main explanations. The first is that people who dream in black and white either just don’t dream as vividly, or the colors of objects aren’t specified so they are just assumed to be black and white. The second explanation is that as people get older they lose the ability to dream in color.

In a recent study, the sample group was prompted to write in a diary as soon as they woke up and recall what they could about their dreams the previous night. From the study, it claims that it is also very possible that you can dream in a mixture of color and black and white, or perhaps in neither. I find this very hard to believe. Everyone must dream, whether you remember them or not. For someone to not dream in neither color nor black and white, would mean, well than what are they dreaming in? It is also brought up in the study that perhaps the people who dream in black and white just put less effort into details. For example, these people may not be as detail and color oriented in general in all aspects of life. I also disagree with this idea because I find it hard to believe that people can put effort into their dreams. I personally, do not think I have any control over my dreams and sometimes end up dreaming about the most bizarre things. How could someone shape their dreams to be less vivid or colorful?

As we get older in general, many of our senses “start to go”. Our vision becomes more blurry, our hearing becomes less sharp, and maybe even our dreams become less vivid. The study showed that it was usually people aged around 50 and older were the ones who would dream in black and white. I think that this makes sense in a lot of ways. Generally when we get older, our sense that goes most often is usually vision. People start to have trouble seeing both up close and distant. And perhaps their sight even becomes less vivid. If this could happen while we are awake, I believe that it could also happen while dreaming.

My last point, is that I think researchers have to be cautious when performing studies on dreams. Like I said, personally I have a really hard time remembering my dreams. If I were to be part of a random study and was asked to describe what my dreams looked like, I would most likely not remember them or they would be very vague. So in that case I would probably just assume my dreams to be in color because why not? But what if actually my dreams were in black and white? I think that studying dreams is something very difficult to do, almost like studying happiness.





3 thoughts on “Dreaming in Black and White

  1. Emma Murphy

    The title of this post caught my eye because it reminded me of my blind teacher explaining how she doesn’t see anything when she dreams because she is blind. She has been blind all her life so she has never had the experience of seeing the world, therefore her dreams are what she is exposed to as a blind person. It was interesting to read that there are people dream in black and white. I always assumed, even for my blind teacher, that everyone experienced the same type of visuals as me in their dreams.

  2. Maria Jean Conti

    It’s very interesting that when you get older, you start to dream in black and white. Dreams are so difficult to test because they are so easy to forget or jumble together. Sometimes something seems to make perfect sense in a dream, and then when you wake up, you can’t even explain what happened. Maybe it is possible that older people have black and white dreams because they are more somber? Not saying that all older people are bitter and somber but maybe in the back of their heads they have regrets or something that cause the dull colors/black and white.

  3. Beom Joon Lee

    This was very interesting to read as I usually have never payed any attention to color in my dreams. I looked more into your topic and found some interesting facts. One researcher claims that televsion may have a big influence on whether you dream in color or not. In this article, http://dreamstudies.org/2008/10/20/dreaming-in-black-and-white/, younger people had a less chance of dreaming in black or white compared to older people over the ages of 55. The reason being was that older people were more likely to watch television in black and white compared to younger people who watched most of their shows in color.

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