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Do blind people see in their dreams? © Getty Images

Do blind people see in their dreams?

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Just as in their waking hours, blind people experience more sounds and smells in their dreams.

Asked by: Lorely Maskell, High Wycombe

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People who are born blind, or become blind early in life (before around five or seven years of age), do not experience visual imagery when they dream. People who became blind later typically do retain some visual imagery when they dream – but less so than in sighted individuals.

A study by Danish researchers found that the longer someone has been blind, the less likely they are to dream visually. And while those who were born blind may not see in their sleep, they are more likely than those with sight to experience auditory, olfactory, gustatory and tactile components to their dreams.

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Authors

Alice is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths. She has contributed to several diverse research areas, including the longitudinal associations between sleep and psychopathology, behavioural genetics, sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome. In addition to her scientific contributions she also excels in the public engagement of science. She has published two popular science book (Nodding Off, Bloomsbury, 2018 and Sleepy Pebble, Nobrow, 2019). She regularly contributes articles to the media and has had her work published in outlets including the Guardian, GQ UK, Sud Ouest, Slate Fr, Independent.

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