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What is a dream? Is it true that if you can't imagine a red car in your mind when your awake, that you see your dreams in black and white?
Question Date: 2004-11-18
Answer 1:

A lot of scientists would like to know the answer to your question. No one is really sure exactly what a dream is. We know that your brain gives you messages as if you were experiencing certain sights, sounds, and other sensations. All of these sensations are put together from your thoughts and memories. Scientists can define dreams by certain patterns of brain waves, but we still really don't know why people dream what they do.

The color/black-and-white issue seems to be controversial. I have heard that some people only dream in black and white and that it was more common in males. I don't know if that's true. The problem is that dream content can't be measured directly. We can only measure what people remember and report about their dreams. I certainly remember dreaming in color, but maybe my mind is playing tricks on me. Another person might say he dreams in black and white, but some people would say that he just doesn't remember the color because it wasn't important to his dream.

I looked for some answers on the web and found an interesting article at

A researcher thinks that the debate about color in dreams started in the 1950's when TV's became common in American homes. Back then, TV was in black and white. He thinks that this caused people to dream in black and white, or at least think about the possibility. He thinks that the question is rare now that almost all TV is in color.

Do you think that a person who has always been colorblind sees color in his or her dreams? In my dreams, I can be cold, but snow is never cold. Have you noticed differences between your perceptions in your dreams and your perceptions when you are awake?

If these sorts of questions interest you, you might consider a career in psychology or neurobiology.

Answer 2:

We still aren't sure exactly what dreams are. The prevailing theory is that they are your higher cognitive functions responding to seemingly random signals from your lower brain. This means that this is how your mind reacts to random neural signals. Obviously, this means that your real-world experiences and memories have an effect on how you react to these signals.

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