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rojo's avatar

When people who have been blind since birth dream, do their dreams have a visual aspect to them?

Asked by rojo (24176points) August 14th, 2018
11 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

And if so, what can it be compared to?

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kritiper's avatar

I would say not. Thinking that they might would be similar to assuming that blind people “see” black.

Patty_Melt's avatar

It is hard to be sure.
Some have reported unusual experiences they thought must be vision. I am not aware of any tests which have proven either way.

LostInParadise's avatar

There is no way of knowing for certain what the inner perceptions of a person are, but I would think that for a person blind since birth, vision is completely inconceivable. It would be like having a dream and perceiving echo location like a bat or a porpoise.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I started a thread about how you would describe color, to someone born blind. There were some interesting points. I can’t provide a link, and don’t know if it can be looked up…

To the q.
I think one variable would be why the person was born blind. For instance, do they even have the anatomical parts, to receive visual information? If they do, then they may indeed get information from those “inputs,” but be largely incapable of understanding what they are “seeing.”

rojo's avatar

Found a critique of study provided by @Marinelife in a previous question UC, Santa Cruz that is interesting and pertains to this question. It was also in an answer by @shilolo in another similar question both, I believe from 2008.

as an aside, I don’t recall @shilolo but evidently he/she revisited here on July 17th of this year

Patty_Melt's avatar

That is too many fifty dollar words for me to process right now.
I would expect the tests to involve more machinery, like EEG or MRI.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I recall activities from shilolo, but I don’t recall anything specific.

Dutchess_III's avatar


OK, reading rapidly from your link @rojo, I found this: First, the authors reported that blind dreamers can draw the scenes and figures in the dream as well as can sighted people who have their eyes closed while they are drawing. On the basis of this evidence, they concluded that blind people must experience visual imagery in the dream.”
I disagree. If you are familiar with a ball, you can feel a ball while blindfolded, then draw a picture of it. Same with a square or anything else.
Depending on the age of the person, they’ve run their hands on the bodies of other humans…and animals, so have an idea of where everything hooks up.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III But they have no concept of color, shadows, shading, distance or perspective.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was thinking stick figures.

MrGrimm888's avatar

They would have a concept of color, if they have the receptors for those colors. If I can see, without input (while dreaming,) they should be able to also. I’m not sure what images, or maybe just splashes of colors.

I can create a sort of visual image, of something I touch. Perhaps, the blind have something similar?

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