How Do Blind People Dream?


Quick Answer

Blind people dream with an increase in sensory information other than sight, such as touch, smell and taste, as claimed by National Geographic. The longer a person has been blind, the less visual imagery appears in her dreams.

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Full Answer

A study conducted by a group of Danish scientists and published in “Sleep Medicine” recorded the dreams of 50 adults over a 4-week period. Half of the participants were sighted and used as the control. After dreaming, the participants were asked to record their dreams using text-to-speech software.

The study found that all the sighted participants reported visual impressions in their dreams, but participants who were blind reported none. Those who had lived with sight but lost it later reported at least some visual imagery. The longer the person had lived without being able to see, the less visual imagery she saw in her dreams.

Nearly 18 percent of the blind participants said that they could taste things in their dreams, whereas only around 7 percent of sighted participants reported the same. About 30 percent of blind participants also reported being able to smell things in their dreams, compared to 15 percent of sighted participants. Close to 70 percent of blind participants said that they felt a touch sensation in their dream, but only about 45 percent of sighted participants reported the same thing.

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