school project

Hi Vanessa— 

Thanks for writing in with your questions. I know your school report will be a big success! 

Dreams actually occur in the entire brain - all at once. Which is to say, there isn't just one area or part of the brain where dreams occur. 

When scientists first measured activity in our brains during REM sleep (REM stands for rapid eye movement sleep, when dreams occur), they discovered that our brains are as active during dreams as when we are awake. When we dream, our brains are stimulated from the inside, and all our senses are involved. This is why we can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear in our dreams - the entire brain is just as busy as when we are awake! 

Recurring dreams let us know that there is an important, unsolved problem in our lives. This is why recurring dreams are especially valuable to try to understand. Our subconscious mind is sending us an urgent message! Here's a fact about recurring dreams that not many people know: If we are able to identify the issue and solve the problem in our waking lives, the recurring dreams will stop. 

Your final question about color in dreams has an interesting history. Historically, no one ever believed dreams were in black and white. In fact, it wasn't until the late 1950s and early 1960s that the question came to be debated. The cause? People were beginning to watch a lot of black and white television in those days, and this made their dreams, on occasion, mimic the black and white worlds that people were seeing on their TVs at night. 

The answer to your question, accordingly, is tricky. All people dream in color. The truth is that we only recently began to dream in black and white—after we saw, for the first time, what a "black and white" world would look like. Think about it. If you'd never seen black and white movies and photographs and TV shows, it would be pretty hard to imagine what a "black and white" world would look like. For example, if you lived in the 1850s, and if someone asked you whether you dreamed in color or black and white—the question wouldn't make sense. You'd ask them: "What on Earth do you mean by dreaming in black and white?" Because the only world we knew back then was in full living color. 

A fun answer, I hope, to a trick question. 

Thanks for writing in to Ask the Dream Doctor. I can tell by your questions that you are a smart girl and a good student. Good luck on your school project!

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