The (Wrong) Bottom Line

The claim is that some people only dream in black and white, and researchers believe that those who do are older people who grew up with black and white television.

From the end of the article:

“The bottom line: A small percentage of people dream in black and white”

Nope. That’s not what I think the bottom line is. The interesting thing here is the REASON they dream in black and white. Not because the neurons in their brain are programmed differently, not because they are color blind, but because of the type of TV they watch.

Studies have shown that Americans are watching more TV now than they ever were before. The latest Nielsen study claims that the average time Americans spend watching television is 142 hours a month, or over 4.7 hours a day. Still, there are 19.3 hours left unaccounted for. Some of that time is spent sleeping (or dreaming!). The suggested amount of sleep for an adult is around 7 hours. Now we’re left with 12.3 hours of awake, non-TV watching time. 12 hours a day of working, running errands, eating meals, playing sports, whatever. But apparently, that’s not what the brain focuses on. This time is unimportant to the brain. All it cares about is what’s going to happen on Grey’s Anatomy, or, which I Love Lucy rerun will come on next.

4.7 hours a day is significant. It’s way too much. I can’t even imagine finding the time to watch 4.7 hours of television every day. Still, it’s not the majority of the day. I wonder what is so different about the way the brain interprets TV that it can alter dream images? Do the little pixels of light really creep into your head and change your wiring that much? And, more importantly, why didn’t the New York Times think this was the real significance of the study?


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