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Pavan Teja says on Psychtronics:

Did you know that ... 12 percent of our dreams are in black and white?

Is this true?

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I hope you don't mind, but I removed the bit about it taking effort to laugh. I don't see how that has any connection with whether and to what extend dreams are in black and white. If you're still interested in that aspect, I'd ask it as a separate question. –  Jeromy Anglim Mar 24 at 6:32
    
@JeromyAnglim it's fine like that...thanks! –  draks ... Mar 24 at 13:27

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's difficult to tell. Dreams are very hard to analyse scientifically since they can't be objectively measured, only self-reported. Dreams are notoriously difficult to recall after waking, so it's almost impossible to tell for certain.

There are some self-report studies which do assert that some proportion of dreams are in black and white, but this pattern is not seen in dream reports in various historical sources, so a plausible explanation is that black-and-white dreaming is caused mainly by exposure to black-and-white film media throughout the early 20th century, and that the percentage of dreams that are in black-and-white are skewed toward older populations who grew up with black-and-white films (though I don't personally know of any hard data on this point)

See this article by Schwitzgebel, 2001, who recounts several primary sources to this effect: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/267/1/dreamb&w010430.pdf

Reference

Schwitzgebel, E. (2002). Why did we think we dreamed in black and white?. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 33(4), 649-660. PDF

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