Dreaming in Color Is Only For The Young

Illustration for article titled Dreaming in Color Is Only For The Young

Whether your dreams are exciting or scary, most of them are in bright, vivid colors. By the time you are pushing 60 though, most of your dreams will be a bland black and white.


This depressing possibility was recently published in the psychology journal Dreaming. The researchers asked a group of over 1,300 people twice during a 16-year interval about the color of their dreams. The results from the two surveys show that 80% of respondents younger than 30 had colorful dreams. This percentage gradually fell to 20% for those in their 60s.

There is one ray of light for those who want to keep their bright, vivid dreams. The study did suggest that color TV may increase the longevity of colorful dreams, an effect that was hinted at in earlier studies. Despite what your parents said, all that time you spent watching the boob tube as a kid may have been good for you and your dreams. [Dreaming via Disassociated; Shutterstock/Vlue]


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The whole notion of dreaming in black and white would have been completely LUDICROUS to anyone born before black and white imaging (monochrome photography) came about. There would have been zero experience to draw upon.

This theory has been around for a long time, but it has no credibility with me. I have always dreamt in color and I'm well past the 60 mark. While many may not remember a particular color from items in their dreams, that doesn't mean they are literally seeing in tonality alone, and not color.

What colors do you recall from wakeful experiences? Quick, what color shirt or tie did you see on your boss three days ago?

I have never encountered anyone who literally remembered dreaming in monochrome. I'd wager that the test questions were biased, and the subjects were asked leading questions about color versus black and white. But in the days of primarily black and white movies, then black and white TV, I'd guess that a substantial influence from them came out. Then. Not now.