Friday, 17 Oct, 2008 Science

Exposure to TV and Films Influences the Color of Our Dreams?


According to a new study, kids that watch TV in black and white are more likely to have black-and-white dreams throughout their lifetime.

Scientists debated on the color of dreams for many years. Most scientists that made their researches in the period between 1915 and 1950s thought that all dreams are black and white. However, in 1960s scientists discovered that about 83 percent of dreams include some color. This particular time in history saw the transition from black-and-white film and TV to Technicolor.

Previously scientists made their researches based on questioners that participants had to complete in the middle of the day, when they might have forgotten some details of their dreams and assume they dreamt in black-and-white.

In order to make it clear, Eva Murzyn from the University of Dundee, UK, decided to make her own study. Firstly she interrogated 60 people, half of them being under 25 and half over 55. Subjects had to answer questions related to the color of their dreams. In addition they had to answer questions linked to their exposure to film and TV. Then, every morning, the participants recorded different features of their dreams in a diary, New Scientist reports.

The researcher discovered that the results from the questionnaires and those from the dream diaries were almost the same, which means that studies performed earlier were comparable.

Afterwards, Murzyn analyzed her own information in order to determine whether grayscale TV still had an influence on the dreams of the study participants, 40 years later. She found that 4.4 percent of dreams reported by subjects aged under 25 were black and white and 7.3 percent of dreams reported by participants aged over 55, who have been exposed to color TV and film during their childhood, were also black and white. However, the over-55s, who were exposed to black-and-white media, said that they were dreaming in grayscale a quarter of the time.

"There could be a critical period in our childhood when watching films has a big impact on the way dreams are formed," said Murzyn.

Despite the fact that subjects spent only a couple of hours each day watching television, their concentration along with emotional engagement would have been amplified, thus leaving a profound sign on their mind.

Nevertheless, the scientist stated that it is still impossible to determine whether a person dreams black-and-white or if the exposure to television modifies the way a human's mind interprets dreams when we wake.

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