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B&W TV Generation Has Monochrome Dreams

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the horse-of-a-different-color dept.

Television 343

Ant writes "The Telegraph reports that people over 55 who were brought up watching a monochrome TV set are more likely to dream in black and white, even years later. New research suggests that the type of television you watched as a child has a profound effect on the color of your dreams. While almost all under-25s dream in color, many over-55s, all of whom were brought up with B&W sets, often still dream in monochrome. The study, out ot Dundee University, used a small number of subjects under 25 or over 55 and the results suggest that '... there could be a critical period in our childhood when watching films has a big impact on the way dreams are formed ... [B]efore the advent of black and white television all the evidence suggests we were dreaming in color.'"

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0_o (5, Funny)

Ieatsyou (1383005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426279)

So this means I am going to dream in 1080i?

Nope... (5, Funny)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426313)

Thanks to DRM, your dreams will all be downscaled from that.

Re:Nope... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426687)

Thanks to DRM, your dreams will all be downscaled from that.

And watermarked.

Re:0_o (5, Funny)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426335)

Only if there's enough plasma in your brain.

Re:0_o (3, Funny)

santix (1234354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426347)

And as long as your brain pixels are not dead...

Re:0_o (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426371)

better question if you only watch TV drawn in Black and white XKCD style will all your dreams be of stick figures?

Re:0_o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426467)

yes, and flesh colored.

Re:0_o (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426471)

Maybe. I dream in text mode.

Re:0_o (5, Interesting)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426929)

I did actually dream in text mode once, after having spent all day at the computer. The dream didn't "work" very well--any kind of writing in dreams tends to be unstable, changing on the fly--but I was definitely reading from a console that filled my entire field of view.

Re:0_o (1)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426927)

I'd hate to think what the BBW generation is going to dream about...

Yo! Yo! GRAYSCALE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426291)

Kidz to-day are so stoopid.

Never was "B&W". Was GRAYSCALE !!

Yo! Yo!

Re:Yo! Yo! GRAYSCALE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426331)

What do you get when you add black and white? Yeah thats right, you get purple! Dum kids these days.

Re:Yo! Yo! GRAYSCALE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426421)

It's clear, this subject is not all black and white, but here's a little jingle I wrote, goes something like this

The ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

And now a child can understand
That this is the law of all the land, all the land

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

And now at last we plainly see
We'll have a dance of Liberty, Liberty!

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

C'mon, get it, get it
Ohh-ohhhh, yeah, yeah
Keep it up now, around the world
Little boys and little girls
Yeah, yeah-eah, oh-ohhh

David Arkin

Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426309)

Goatse [goatse.cz]

Faggots and niggers.

I smell BS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426315)

Are they seriously suggesting that something people saw for a few hours a week in black and white determined how they dream for the rest of their lives? The 90% of the time spent living in full colour was just swept away, because TV is just so fucking powerful? I bet no proper study will ever reach the same conclusion.

Re:I smell BS (4, Interesting)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426391)

Out of all of my dreams, I can only remember a color memory from ONE that I had years ago, where I was in a bunch of picturesque green mountains. Otherwise, my dreams and the memories of those dreams have no concept of color or grayscale in them at all. Sometimes places are dark or poorly lit, or sometimes it's night, but I simply can't remember the color of anything else from any of my dreams.

Re:I smell BS (2, Funny)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426903)

I have a Ted Turner cell ® in my brain and I colorized all my old black and white memories.
I think Kagura has the best answer. How do you know it is color, if the images don't come from an eye stalk. I could think of anything and say it is color in my imagination and it would simply have that trait. I could imagine this text is white on blue if I wanted. I think that the experimenters were making the subjects believe in <RED> XUL

Re:I smell BS (4, Informative)

aclarke (307017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426969)

I'm 35, and I remember the first time I ever dreamed in colour, or at least remembered my dream. I was probably 5 or 6, and my entire dream was in black and white, except my brother was wearing a blue shirt. I remember waking up and finding it odd that I'd never dreamed in colour before that point.

I never associated that with television. Maybe kid are more likely to dream in black and white. We did have a B&W television and I was allowed to watch one hour per day. Usually Mr. Dressup (Canadian show) and Gilligan's Island.

Re:I smell BS (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426411)

I think you are right. However if not, the first thought that came to mind was that it is kind of sad the tube has begun to rule so much that people aren't dreaming in the colours of the real world. No, that's not the name of a T.V. show. :-p I think they need redo the study with a better method.

Re:I smell BS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426547)

The truth, of course, is that before the 1950s, the world itself was in Black and White.

Re:I smell BS (2, Interesting)

schklerg (1130369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426573)

and it was grainy for a while too.

I still pull Calvin & Hobbes in every day w/ dailystrips and I still love it.

Re:I smell BS (0, Offtopic)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426601)

I know! It's almost as ridiculous as the idea that we're made up of little tiny atoms! Hey, earth to scientists, I'm a person, not a bunch of atoms! Speaking of earth, there are some people who claim the earth is round! How ridiculous is that! I see hills, that doesn't look too round! And what about if you walk too far in one direction? Wouldn't you fall off the earth?!? I tell you, these scientists just need a little bit of common sense and a little less scientific method!

Re:I smell BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426705)

The fact you're clearly missing is that simply doing one experiment and calling it science does not make it definitive or even accurate. It's entirely possible the method was flawed or the results were skewed in any number of ways, or simply that the test sample wasn't big enough. This is a vast problem with popular science reporting - a single experiment is reported on in such a way that its results are presented as irrefutable fact because, after all, this is science. The truth is that any results should be tested and independently verified again and again before any such sweeping statements can be made. Clearly this hasn't been done, and I'm confident that when (if?) this experiment is repeated it will not find the same results. Of course by then it'll be old news, and nobody wants to report that something exciting/interesting was invalidated - that doesn't pull in hits, so it'll go unnoticed and the simpler folk who buy into anything they read under a science heading as fact (such as yourself) will go on their whole lives believing this absolute fallacy.

Re:I smell BS (4, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426799)

you can smell whatever you want to smell. its your groundless assumptions against multiple corroborated studies.

TV is a powerful (and insidious) cultural media, probably the most influential cultural media in modern society. that's why corporations spend so much money on TV commercials to imprint their brand on TV viewers, especially children. the data gathered from the recent study and from past research are not all that surprising. the researcher also offers a rational explanation for the data:

Even though they would have spent only a few hours a day watching TV or films, their attention and emotional engagement would have been heightened during this time, leaving a deeper imprint on their mind, Miss Murzyn told the New Scientist.

"The crucial time is between three and 10 when we all begin to have the ability to dream," she said.

"Television and films which by their very nature are interesting and emotionally engaging and even dreamlike. So when you dream you may copy what you have seen on the screen.

"I have even had a computer game player who dreams as if he is in front of a computer screen."

and if you had bothered to RTFA, you'd see that even the subjects who watched B&W television growing up dreamt in color 75% of the time. but it's not all that surprising that individuals will dream in the palette of the dominant cultural media in their childhood.

Re:I smell BS (1)

zeptobyte (1140111) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426879)

Dreams are fantasy. Television is fantasy. Reality is not. See the connection now?

I have doubts about this (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426321)

I'm 58, and the only black and white things in my dreams are the TVs that I dream about watching when I dream of my youthful experiences.

Re:I have doubts about this (2, Interesting)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426413)

I'm 55 and I've always dreamed in color. I didn't watch color TV until I was out of high school. Sounds like they need to go back to the old drawing board and start the study again, maybe with more people and a wider range of ages. Still seems like a waste of time and money to me.

Re:I have doubts about this (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426595)

I'm 55 and I've always dreamed in color.

The real world around us is in color, and I bet it has more influence on people than some boring TV a couple of hours per day.

Re:I have doubts about this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426653)

Ah, so since your sample of 1 contradicts the study they need to increase their sample size and do the study again! Good thinking!

Not Properly Controlled (5, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426323)

"The study, out ot Dundee University, used a small number of subjects under 25 or over 55 and the results suggest that"

It sounds like they didn't properly control this experiment. By having two groups with such drastically different ages, there are now two variables: what kind of TV someone grew up watching, and age. Maybe older people are more likely to honestly admit they dream in black and white, or maybe they lose the ability to dream in color as they age. I think most people can't remember the minute visual details of their dreams, so experiments like this can easily introduce a bias in how one describes his dreams.

Honestly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426325)

I'm not even sure if I dream in color or not.

And what about those of us who grew up... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426333)

...not watching TV at all? I read books as a child but I don't dream in black text on white paper.

Re:And what about those of us who grew up... (5, Funny)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426367)

I frequently have dreams where I'm reading some modern work, but the book is a huge leather bound volume with clasps and hinges, and the text is in archaic black letter, or hand scribed with illuminated portions. I guess, by the study, this is because of my formative years in the 1540's.

Re:And what about those of us who grew up... (1)

jensend (71114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426755)

I didn't watch much TV growing up but did do a lot of reading, and I find that (at least in regard to the dreams I'm aware of having had) my dreams are usually not visual. I'm aware of what surroundings I'm in in the dream and might be able to describe them in terms one would expect to correspond to sight, but I don't really "see" anything. Reading this article makes me realize that this non-visual sense in my dreams has much in common with imagination as I read.

Of course, plenty of people dreamt in visual color long before TV was around- but perhaps that reflects the fact that before TV most kids' perceptions of the world were less influenced by various media and more influenced by interaction with the outside physical world.

Dreaming not always in visuals (1)

kilraid (645166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426339)

I don't think the principal elements of dreams has to be visual imagery. If I recall a dream, I cannot always remember actually seeing anything. Sometimes it's more like objects and concepts. That dreams would merely replace sensory input is probably a misconception.

Color, by the way. (But once it was black and white and some things in color, as in Nethack)

Color processing is wierd (4, Informative)

pieterh (196118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426343)

I remember dreams that were in black and white but where specific things - a person, an object - were in vivid colors, red, blue, yellow.

It seems extraordinarily unlikely that our dream color schemes are influenced by the TV we watch. Did they ask people who grew up with no TV if they dream in color, B&W?

Much more likely, there are age differences. Maybe some people start to dream more in B&W as they get older. Correlation is not causation!

Anyhow, I don't dream much at all. Two young kids means that deep sleep is a rare luxury.

Re:Color processing is wierd (1)

kilraid (645166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426379)

Ha! Another Nethack player!

Re: Nethack players (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426399)

We're everywhere.

Re:Color processing is wierd (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426385)

My family didn't have a TV until I was 13. I dream in color (or at least that's how I remember it in the morning). BTW you may dream a normal amount but not remember it.

Re:Color processing is wierd (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426657)

Anyhow, I don't dream much at all. Two young kids means that deep sleep is a rare luxury.

You dream. You just don't remember it.

Without REM, and its accompanying dreams, we eventually die. Barring very extreme sleep disturbances, pretty much everyone dreams every "night." In an eight hour span of sleep, it would be ridiculously irregular if a person experienced no REM. Now, obviously not everyone gets eight hours of sleep a night, which is part of your point--but even in a much short span, say three hours, REM almost certainly takes place.

Re:Color processing is wierd (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426775)

Yeah, it's strange. I don't remember many dreams where I've noticed whether they're in color or not. Does that mean I dream in black and white, because there's no color information? Or does it mean I dream in color, because I'd notice something so different from my regular experiences.

Personally, I don't think color exists in my dreams unless it's relevant to the content. That makes this "B&W vs Color" question totally meaningless.

Re:Color processing is wierd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426803)

a person, an object - were in vivid colors, red, blue, yellow.

You dreams sound like "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover". I hope you didn't see that as a child!

Greenaway gives a nightmare tinge to these scenes by using a different color scheme for every locale -- red for the dining room, white for the toilets -- and having the color of the character's costumes change as they walk from one to another.

Maybe some people start to dream more in B&W as they get older. Correlation is not causation!

Don't be silly. These people always dreamed in B&W. The summary even implies that some peoples dreams eventually switched from B&W to color, but most didn't. Correlation + explanation = evidence for causation!

half license fee for B&W TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426345)

Why don't they ask those under 25 who only have B&W TVs? License fee is half for B&W TVs, there's got to be somebody under 25 with only a B&W TV...

Re:half license fee for B&W TV (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426957)

Hmmm, I wonder if the people closely watching a black and white set that had wide video bandwidth would dream with the visible dot pattern on the parts of the picture where the most brightly saturated color was. One couldn't tell what color it was from, but one who knew what to look for could see it on a set with good focus and bandwidth.

The color subcarrier frequency for NTSC was picked at 3.579545 MHz. (In theory, TV police could sniff out that or similar PAL frequency to detect color sets radiating in B&W licensed households) Why such and odd choice for the frequency? For a horizontal scan rate of 15.734 KHz (previously 15.750 for B&W) and a vertical rate of 59.97 Hz, the dot pattern on one line was offset exactly half a dot from the adjacent line to minimize it being visible on black and white sets. (Color sets used filtering to avoid the dots, but that reduced detail until someone came up with comb filters... but that's another ramble...)

I wonder how much one could cut costs by making flat-panel greyscale displays? It would only need 1/3 as many pixels. I can just see it now... retro frames that look like the front of a 50's television hanging on the wall showing old shows in black and white. Someone could preload a system with a drive full of shows where the copyrights have run out.

I wonder if we'd grown up watching sets with the blue-lateral magnet out of adjustment, if we'd dream with everything having a blue fringe on one side, and yellow on the other?

I really really hope that future dreams don't have compression artifacts.

What about people who don't grow up watching TV? (3, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426357)

I'm not claiming that I didn't grow up watching TV, or even that there are very many people out there like that, but what about people who didn't watch a lot of TV growing up? Is it related to the environment in which we spend the most time? What I'm wondering is whether or not reading a lot of books would cause black and white dreams simply because the black text on a white background is similar to black and white television.

Ethical issues aside, can we raise some children in an environment largely deprived of green and see if that affects their dreams? It would probably be interesting to know, but I'm not sure how much it would further our understanding of the human mind.

Re:What about people who don't grow up watching TV (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426451)

> I'm not claiming that I didn't grow up watching TV, or even that there are very many
> people out there like that, but what about people who didn't watch a lot of TV growing
> up?

We are a lucky few.

> Is it related to the environment in which we spend the most time?

Are your dreams mostly inane sitcoms and animated advertisements for crappy toys?

> What I'm wondering is whether or not reading a lot of books would cause black and white
> dreams simply because the black text on a white background is similar to black and
> white television.

Didn't happen to me, but I spent a lot of time outside as well as reading many books. But then, I read in color and 3D.

I shudder to think (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426361)

about how the youtube generation will dream...

Re:I shudder to think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426515)

LOL i drem n lolcats!111!!!1ONE

teh leave britney alone guy narrates my dreams

Re:I shudder to think (1)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426517)

In short grainy snatches of up to 10 minutes.

Re:I shudder to think (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426673)

I guess ten minutes of snatch is better than nothing....

Re:I shudder to think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426545)

I think you mean the 2girls1cup generation, don't you?

Re:I shudder to think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426551)

No, no, no, the question is "how the youporn generation will dream?" :)

Re:I shudder to think (5, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426565)

Fuck! Just when I was undoing her bra strap, things suddenly went Rick Astley! Fuck!

makes me wonder... (3, Interesting)

MonoSynth (323007) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426365)

Besides the fact that this proves that tv has a way too big influence on our lives an our personalities, I wonder if this effects the way we look at the world outside our dreams. Do "b&w people" have more feeling for shapes and textures while "color people" look at the world from a more color-based perspective? Does it influence the way a photographer composes a picture? Does it influence how quick we react in traffic, recognizing colors instead of shapes? Does it influence our definition of beauty?

Interesting stuff :)

Vivid Colors for Me!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426387)

Cause I've never seen a B&W Vivid Video :)

pseudoscience (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426393)

Oh, please. What, they think the generation before TV (the radio generation) dreamed in audio only? Did the people of Shakespeare's time dream in iambic pentameter?

Good ol' pseudoscience rears it's ugly head again.

That explains SOOO much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426401)

I always wondered why the colours in my dreams flood out until I hit myself in the head. This also explains when I wake up and feel like I'm falling, it's just the stupid v-hold.

The next time I have a bad dream I'm going to try turning the rotor.

RAWR-RAWR-RWAR-RAWR-RAWR-bad dream fuzzing out-RAWR-RAWR-bad dream gone!-RAWR-RAWR-RAWR-overpowered local news station!

Yeah (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426405)

and Internet generation wet....

Dream in B&W ? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426427)

I was brought up on B&W TVs and have never, to my memory, dreamed in B&W (and I keep a dream journal).

Re:Dream in B&W ? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426437)

Oh, and I am not quite 55

Consequence: (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426439)

Watch as little television [youtube.com] as possible - or none at all - and keep your kids away from it at all cost. It fucks up your brain.

o rly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426469)

So I'm going to dream with pixelations and a little note saying "Buffering ..."?

Of course if I was a real geek, I'd dream in blocky ASCII teletype softcore pinups. [today.com]

I don't even see the code anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426481)

All I see now is blonde, brunette, redhead.

Seeing B&W *as* color?! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426485)

Here's for some weirdness that I and my family have never been able to figure out.

I'm relatively young (24), but spent the early years with a black & white TV. Around age 6-8(?), my parents finally acquired a color TV.

Two things here:
1) I dream in color now, and think I did back then (although I cannot say this for 100%). This is but one data point, and perhaps I did not have B&W long enough to overly influence my dream development (if this phenomenon is for real).

2) I saw the black and white TV as color! Meaning, I had no idea that it was black and white until my parents told me many years later.

I didn't lead a particularly deprived childhood, in that I saw movies on occasion at the cinema, visited other friends who had color TVs, and so forth--it was really that my parents were frugal--so it wasn't like I hadn't been exposed to color TV (and then, of course, there is Real Life, in its full-blown technicolor glory).

I explicitly remember the transition between televisions as one from a certain color palette to a new color palette--not gray scale to color! (I think it was Disney's "Gummi Bears" which stands out most in my mind.)

My youngest brother (my age minus 4) vaguely remembers the TV thing in the same way. My parents always thought we were crazy, until years later talking to my father's sister about this, who also reported viewing things in her childhood in a similar manner. Heriditary?

This is obviously tangential to the original topic, but I've always been curious about what caused this--did my young mind project color onto the screen? For the record, I most definitely see B&W as color, now, and I'm not colorblind. If anyone reading here has any ideas of what strange brain workings caused this, I would be very curious.

Re:Seeing B&W *as* color?! (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426557)

2) I saw the black and white TV as color! Meaning, I had no idea that it was black and white until my parents told me many years later.

Interesting. We had only a B&W until I was 11, but I was always sure I could tell when things on the screen were actually red or brown. No other colors, just red and brown.

Re:Seeing B&W *as* color?! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426851)

I also remember seeing the Smurfs and Scooby Doo in colour, even though we had a B&W TV for years. I remember my mother saying "Oh, the Smurfs are blue!" after we got a new TV, and turning to look at her like she was nuts.

Re:Seeing B&W *as* color?! (1)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426895)

I sincerely doubt that your mind created the perception of coherent colors while you were watching a black and white TV.

I think it's much more likely that two factors are at work:

1. Cloudy memory due to the gap of time between now and when you were a child combined with the fact that children don't have very good memories anyway

2. When you were a child, you may not have noticed the difference between black and white and color programs because you were not paying any attention to that aspect of your experience

Even today, my wife, who is in her 30's, says she can't tell the difference between standard definition and high definition programming. I know that she really can, but when she watches TV, it's just not something that she pays any attention to. So left to her own devices, her memory of watching a program doesn't retain any perception of the video quality of the program. If I were to sit down with her and show her a standard def program and a high def side by side (or even one after the other on the same set), we'd be able to talk through the differences, which I am certain she could notice and appreciate if instructed to do so. So when her attention is specifically directed by an outside influence to video quality, she can perceive the difference. But her mind does not normally notice such things so on her own, her experience of watching a program has no component which is related to video quality, and furthermore, what she remembers about it loses any small amount of perception of video quality that she might have had at the time she was watching it.

I use her as an example, but I think that every single person does the same sort of thing with numerous aspects of perception all the time.

I think that when you were a kid, if someone had shown you black and white TV and color TV side by side, you clearly would have seen the difference. But when you were left to your own devices, watching that black and white TV, you didn't pay any attention to the hues you were perceiving on the screen. So if afterwards someone asked you (or you asked yourself) whether or not you had watched a color or black and white TV program, you would have replied based on what you had assumed about your experience, rather than what you had actually perceived.

Color vs. black-and-white is definitely a pretty big thing to just sweep under the rug of perception, but I think it really is the same as much more subtle aspects to what we perceive, like video quality, just to a different degree. And I think that being a kid, with the inherent lack of maturity of thought and perception of childhood, you were more able to filter that part of your experience out than you would be today as an adult, which is why it seems so strange and impossible now to think that you could have done that back then.

Not surprising.. (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426489)

My dreams as a kid were pixelated! And my teenage dreams often had things like wireframed landscapes with low polygon trees!

Even when I dreamt about breakups with ex's, or random things.. all 3D engine inspired.

What happened to the Indian chief? (4, Informative)

mbstone (457308) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426503)

We didn't have color TV until I was 7.

Things you probably don't remember about TV.

TV didn't used to be all night. After Johnny Carson the booth announcer would come on and read a long blurb about how the station is licensed by the FCC to transmit from Mt. Foobar with a radiated power of blah blah and serve the public interest blah blather.

Then they would show a film of a military band playing The Star-Spangled Banner and then they would turn off the transmitter, filling your living room with snow and white noise.

TV used to be three channels which is why millions of people voluntarily watched programs like Gilligan's Island or Mr. Ed. It took an act of Congress to set up a fourth channel.

Every drug store used to have a tube tester where you could bring in the vacuum tubes from your TV to see if they needed replacement.

When you turned off the TV, there was a little white dot that remained in the middle of the screen.

Before Sunrise Semester and Captain Kangaroo TV stations aired test patterns, and there was this Indian chief at the top of the test pattern. Evidently he held an exalted position among the gods of TV, who was he? Why isn't he on color bars? What is the technical significance of all those numbers on the test pattern [wikimedia.org] ?

Re:What happened to the Indian chief? (3, Interesting)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426787)

Oh yes, I remember it all so well.

And don't forget the manual tuning of each channel by the turning of the big knob on the front that had stops at each channel, and then the "fine tuning" ring behind the knob that you turned to get it just right in combination with the best position of the rabbit ears for each channel.
I wonder how many people still say "turn the channel" as opposed to "change the channel", and if it differs by age?

How about the public service announcement that came on at 10pm that said:
"Parents, it's now 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?"

Re:What happened to the Indian chief? (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426971)

Things you probably don't remember about TV. [...] they would show a film of a military band playing The Star-Spangled Banner and then they would turn off the transmitter, filling your living room with snow and white noise.

Yes... Nobody that has ever watched the movie Poltergeist knows any of this...

Really, who doesn't remember this? It's been perhaps less than 10 years now since all stations started broadcasting infomercials all night. I think KCET (Los Angeles PBS station) was doing it up until ~2 years ago.

TV used to be three channels which is why millions of people voluntarily watched programs like Gilligan's Island or Mr. Ed. It took an act of Congress to set up a fourth channel.

TV used to be 1 channel... Then 2... Then 3... Then 4...

I don't think there was really a decent length of time (in the any of the major markets) when there were only TV 3 channels. There certainly wasn't in Los Angeles, with local (independent) stations owned by the Los Angeles Times, Paramount, Disney, etc. They used to be dammed good TV channels to, until the late 90's when mergers and rampant cost cutting turned them all into crap.

What you're actually talking about are NATIONAL networks (ie. CBS, NBC-Red, NBC-Blue/ABC).

Missing group (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426505)

You know, if this study had also investigated those who worked for years with green monochrome monitors and found a significant percentage of them dreamed in green monochrome, it'd be a lot more credible.

tricky question (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426507)

I honestly do not know if I dream in black and white or colour. I just can't remember dreams in that much detail, even seconds after waking I wouldn't be able to answer for sure.

However isn't there a big problem with memorising dreams. It's widely known that dreams are meant to be forgotten, they're 'stored' in part of a brain that's meant to not keep things. As such to remember a dream, you first recall it whilst it's fresh, then you seperately remember what you've recalled. Essentially a version of chinese whispers.

There's a risk that people aren't remembering the dream but remembering what they thought the dream was. If any of that makes sense...

Re:tricky question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426721)

Same here, sort of. I can sometimes vividly recall what happened in a dream and some of the "scenes", but I have no sense of whether it's in color. It's just not visual like that.

Bull (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426519)

My family was not well to do when I was in elementary school, and we had an ancient BW TV. I dream in technocolor. Heck, the _world_ is in color.

Actually, the world was B&W back then (3, Funny)

Erandir (578490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426525)

CALVIN: Dad, how come old photographs are always black and white? Didn't they have color film back then?

CALVIN'S DAD: Sure they did. In fact, those old photographs are in color. It's just the world was black and white then.

CALVIN: Really?

CALVIN'S DAD: Yep. The world didn't turn color until sometime in the 1930s, and it was pretty grainy color for a while, too.

CALVIN: That's really weird.

CALVIN'S DAD: Well, truth is stranger than fiction.

CALVIN: But then why are old paintings in color?! If the world was black and white, wouldn't artists have painted it that way?

CALVIN'S DAD: Not necessarily, a lot of great artists were insane.

CALVIN: But ... but how could they have painted in color anyway? Wouldn't their paints have been shades of gray back then?

CALVIN'S DAD: Of course, but they turned colors like everything else in the '30s.

CALVIN: So why didn't old black and white photos turn color too?

CALVIN'S DAD: Because they were color pictures of black and white, remember?

(CUT TO: EXT. Tree limb, Calvin talking with Hobbes)

CALVIN: The world is a complicated place, Hobbes.

HOBBES: Whenever it seems that way, I take a nap in a tree and wait for dinner.

color itself was invented in the 50s (1)

SuperElectric (754754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426527)

I remember reading some fiction book where the protagonist's dad had convinced his young son that color itself was invented sometime in the 1950's, which is why old movies were in black and white. This would certainly jibe with that theory :D. Dads, try it today!

Re:color itself was invented in the 50s (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426579)

Calvin & Hobbes, actually.

NTSC vs PAL (vs 8-bit). (1)

BLAG-blast (302533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426587)

So, do people in the UK dream in PAL and people in the USA dream in NTSC? I'm glad I grew up in the UK, dream in NTSC just seems like the stuff nightmares are made of!

I definitely remember being a child in the '80s and dreaming in 8-bit graphics, too much playing Elite and Exile I think.

Dream on....

Dubious (4, Insightful)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426591)

Remembering back to my psych classes, colour and B&W dreaming tend to happen at different parts of the sleep cycle. Colour is more common in REM, while dreams during NREM sleep are more likely to be in B&W.

Since sleep patterns change as we age, it seems probable that this has far more to do with the age of the study participants. Since people were asked to record their dreams in the morning, they will tend to remember those dreams from their most recent sleep cycles.

A better approach would be to conduct a proper sleep study, in which people of different ages are woken at different parts of their sleep cycle (as detected by EEG) and asked about their dreams and whether they were in colour. Anything else is an extrapolation too far and subject to too many other factors.

NTSC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426597)

Do Americans dream Never The Same Colour?

Age? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426605)

This is drivel; and I speak as someone in their mid-60s. I'll bet not one of the authors is over 25.

Bush: Aggressive action needed to save banks (-1, Offtopic)

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I doubt it too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426613)

I'm in my 20s and I dream in black and white. Sometimes in color, but mostly in black and white.

I dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426623)

... in sepia :-D

Pseudo-science (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426627)

I'm pretty sure dreams don't come from the visual cortex but are conceived in the perception itself.
What I mean is, things don't have color in my dreams. They are not black-white, they are not dark, there is just no color information.
They only do when it's important. I will dream of green grass but when I dream of a book, it's just a book, not a black, green, UV, red or transparent book. No color information because it doesn't matter.

In short: I call bullshit on this.

Re:Pseudo-science (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426815)

Maybe yours don't :)

I for one have had countless instances of color for "non-important" things in my dreams - green grass, brown dirt, blue water, cars, food, etc. Talk to anyone that practices lucid dreaming [wikipedia.org] especially, and they can no doubt give you many examples.

I can dream in... (2, Funny)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426639)

B&W, NTSC color, and HD. Imagine that and I'm only 43 years old.

I do however still dream of green or amber letters on a black screen.

News flash (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426643)

many over-55s, all of whom were brought up with B&W sets

WTF? If you're ten years over 55, there's about an even-money chance that you were ten years old before you had any TV set.

rj

This explains a lot... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426651)

Too many Vampire movies and LSD when I was young, now I dream of Ultraviolet [wikipedia.org] in ultraviolet [wikipedia.org] .

P.S. The UV (light) page has a nice false-color shot of the solar corona in UV.

Interesting.... (2, Funny)

zunicron (1344365) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426655)

I dream in color about watching TV in black and white.

I haven't dreamed at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426681)

since I dreamed I got a DMCA takedown notice.

Very dark dreams -- maybe bw, maybe color (1)

Legendre (634519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426697)

I don't know if it's just me, but my normal dreams almost happen in darkness; I almost wish someone would turn on the lights! For age reference, I'm 30. Because everything is so damn dark, I really can't tell if there are colors around or not. It's like walking outside at night, with no lights, and no moon. Maybe things have colors, but I just can't see nothing! Even if I'm dreaming of a sunny day on the beach, it's like someone turned the brightness/contrast so that everything is just so dark! Now, I tried lucid dreaming techniques a while back -- BAM!!!! FULL beautiful colors, very vivid, just like during waking hours!! Lucid dreaming is hard though, takes a lot of practice. So now I'm back to the dreams of darkness.

Black and white? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426747)

My dreams are always in green and white. I don't know why. Also, I sometimes moderate in my sleep.

I have my doubts. (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426811)

I think someone should try an independent verification study on this one and see if maybe they missed something out of their experimental procedure or controls or whatnot.

I suppose old geezers who grew up in the days of radio (you know, the same people who still talk about "listening" to the television because "listen" is the verb they grew up with for tuning into broadcasts) dream in audio only? *That* could be interesting...

We didn't get a color television until I was in high school, but I don't recall ever dreaming in black and white. I do recall dreaming in 3D and, in some cases, in the abstract (with no visual imagery at all). This is, of course, purely anecdotal. But I have my doubts about the headline.

Re:I have my doubts. (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426887)

We old geezers who listened to radio before they invented stereo now dream only in monaural. But worse, because I grew up when they only had two-dimensional television, now I only dream in 2D instead of 3D like everyone else. And I went to a baseball park and fainted from the intensity of the experience.

Neither B&W nor color (1, Insightful)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426885)

This story is implying that dreams are like movies that we sit back and watch.
Unless they are specifically about color, dreams are just thoughts that are neither B&W nor color.

It's equivalent to remembering a past experience. Even though we can remember exactly how an event played out, color is not part of it unless it has some significance in the memory.

More (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426907)

http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/08.06/BrainsColorProc.html [harvard.edu]

They should do a follow-up study where the researchers actually monitor brain activity in addition to reporting experiential observations from the subjects.

makes you wonder (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426945)

1. before television, did people mostly dream in color, dream in black and white or just not dream?
2. young children who only watch cartoons, what sort of dreams do they have?

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426961)

So I guess before TV people had newsreel dreams and before that silent film dreams with those cards with words & pian-ie.

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