Oct 18, 2008

Lifestyle - Television 'influences your dreams'

LONDON: It's a research in black and white -- TV influences our colourful dreams.

Researchers in Britain have found that children who're exposed to black-and-white film and television are more likely to dream in greyscale throughout their life.

Opinions have been divided on the colour of dreams for almost a century. Studies between 1915 and 1950 suggested that the majority of dreams are in black and white, while those in the 1960s showed up to 83 per cent of dreams contain colour.

Now, it seems that a team at the University of Dundee, led by Eva Murzyn, has laid the debate to rest.

They first asked 60 subjects -- half of whom under 25 and half of whom over 55 -- to answer a questionnaire on the colour of their dreams and their childhood exposure to film and TV. The subjects then recorded different aspects of their dreams in a diary every morning.

They found there was no significant difference between results drawn from the questionnaires and the dream diaries -- suggesting that the previous studies were comparable, the 'New Scientist' reported.

The researchers then analysed their own data to find out whether an early exposure to black-and-white TV can still have a lasting effect on their subjects dreams 40 years later.

Only 4.4 per cent of the under-25s' dreams were black and white. The over-55s who'd had access to colour TV and film during their childhood also reported a very low proportion of just 7.3 per cent.

But it found the over-55s who had only had access to black-and-white media reported dreaming in black and white roughly 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," Murzyn wrote in the latest edition of 'Consciousness and Cognition' journal.

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