On Dreams and the Senses

I was just wondering how you people experience dreams. It seems to me that some people experience a dream almost exactly as if they were waking. That seems very strange to me because when I experience a dream, there is a very large distinction (no sound, very little visual - almost as if I am remembering something, not seeing it).

Also, is it possible that everyone experiences life completely differently? For example, what I may call orange, may look like green to someone else, and purple to another person. Would smells be completely different for each person? Is there even any way to determine this?


I’ll go with the dream one first. While my dreams usually don’t make a lot of sense, the sensory details of sight/touch/sound are more or less as they’d be in real life. However, I have a very, very good sense of smell. In dreams, though, I rarely notice the aspect of scent being involved; now that I stop to think about it, I can’t come up with a single instance where it is brought into focus. Taste either, for that matter, and in many dreams, both taste and smell would seem like they’d be present, given the various contexts.

As for the colour thing…I’m no expert, but having wondered this myself after my friend Adam brought “my red might not be the same as your red” thing to my attention sophomore year of high school, it seems to me that there are ways to prove that everybody’s colours are the same. For one, colour blindness tests will use a series of green and red dots to see which rods/cones are defective in a patient’s eyes. The level of contrast between colours would have to be the same across the board for such tests to work properly. Secondly, different colours give most people the same sorts of psychological reactions after they’ve been exposed to them, and this is also across the board. Blue is calming, orange, IIRC, makes people hungry, green is found enlightening, etc. This is also true of light/dark variations. (I’m sure someone will be along to add their more scientific two scents later).

The smell thing. Don’t know…as I said earlier with dreams, smell’s a big thing for me. I like a couple off-the-wall smells. I actually like skunk (yeah, I know I’m a weirdo), so long as it’s not overpowering, and I hate the way fresh-cut grass smells, even though most people enjoy it. But I don’t believe this indicates that everyone smells things differently, just that everyone likes different things, as with anything else.

Oh, and welcome to the boards theclam. You’ll pick up on how everything works around here pretty fast, there’s not too much to it, but in the future, just so you know…polls and so forth are for IMHO, and GQ is more for black-and-white factual answers. So the dream section might be better suited for the former, and the colour section more for the later. Anyway, welcome to the SDMB.


Do ya think ya might want to read the forum descriptions here ? That way you can post your question to the correct forum and get the kind of discussion you’re looking for.

Sorry, If a mod could move my post that would be great.

But if it doesn’t get much more reaction, I can just repost it in IMHO.