How Do Blind People Dream? We Have The Answer

Brooke James
First Posted: Aug 26, 2016 07:28 AM EDT

There have been many studies regarding dreams. Scientists found that they are neurological activities mainly done during the REM Stage of sleep. While many of us see moving pictures that range from ordinary to baffling in our sleep, there is one question that everyone, at some point, had asked: how do blind people dream?

Neuroscientists from the University of Copenhagen actually looked into it. They gathered 25 blind people for their study, 11 of which were blind from birth, and 14 who became blind after age 1. They also gathered with them 25 sighted participants. Over the course of four weeks, they interviewed the participants about their dreams and asked them to fill out a structured dream diary that they should fill in upon waking up each day. In the diary, the participants were asked all kinds of questions regarding the dream, including the form that these dreams take, the things that they see (if they do) and whether or not they experience nightmares.

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The study, which was published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that while sighted participants tended to remember visual sensations from their dreams, the blind participants actually have a far richer and wider variety of senses in their dreams. They experience vivid sensations of sound, touch, smell, and even taste.

Those who acquired blindness later in life, meanwhile, have experienced visual dreams, with the study noting that many of these people "described an object or a scene verbally in such rich visual terms that the interlocutor began to doubt if these individuals really lacked vision." However, they did also find that the longer a person had been blind, the shorter their memory of the dream and the more hazy the visual impressions are.

Scientists only made a thorough study about this recently, but the question as to how blind people dream, as noted by IFL Science, had been answered long ago. For instance, blind YouTuber and film critic Tommy Edison addressed the issue long ago. Edison shared that if his brain does not know how to see, it is likely that his brain won't help him, either. "A drug wouldn't be able to make me see. If it could, don't you think I'd take it every day!?"

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