Blue Dress, White Dress, Which Is The Real Colour?

dressBlue dress, white dress, which is the real colour? This has been the question that has created actual web wars.

The world of social media is a place where many things can happen. When there are so many people in a single “place” there are also many opinions and in some cases to many opinions.

The simple fact that a simple picture has managed to create an online war going on , is, well, normal on the internet. For an entire day, people on social media, have been arguing, whether an image portrays a bodycon dress as, white with gold lace fringe, or blue with black lace fringe.
The discussion has created two sides and both of them stood firm on their positions. The argument is beyond a simple social media fight, and is about biology and the evolution of the human eyes and brains in seeing colour in sunlight.

Light enters the human eye trough lens and different wavelengths correspond to different colours. Th light hits the retina exactly in the back of the eye the place where pigments create neural connections to the visual cortex, the area of the brain that processes this specific signals into images.

dress3

That firs burst of light, is created by whatever type of wavelengths are illuminating the world and that reflects on the things you are looking at.

You don’t have to worry about anything, as your brain figures out the color by itself and recognises the color that bounces off the things you are looking at, and subtracts the color from the actual color of the object.
Scientists have stated to have studied individual differences in the colour perception for the past 30 years and it seems to be one of the biggest individual differences ever seen.
However, the image of the dress, has hit a sort of perceptual boundary which may be caused by how people are wired.

The chromatic axis differs from the pinky red shade of dawn to the white-ish blue of noontime and then goes back to reddish twilight.

“What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” stated Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies vision and colours at Wellesley College.

He added that there are two possibilities, they either not take into consideration the blue side, and they end up seeing white and gold, or not take into consideration the gold part, and end up seeing blue and black.

The main idea is that you brain is trying to interpolate a specific colour context for the picture and then releases an answer for the colour of the dress. Even a neuroscientist who said that he saw the colour of the dress as being white and gold, stated that the dress is most probably blue.

He added that he printed out the picture and cut a little piece of it and looked at it, and said that the colour was somewhere in between, not that dark blue colour. The brain attributed the color blue due to the lighting. Others attribute it to the dress.

A design and photo team, has tried to find an explanation on how others see the dress white and gold as they definitely saw the dress blue. They tried to white-balance the pictures based on that idea,even though it didn’t make any sense. What they saw was blue in highlights, telling them that the white they saw was blue and the gold was black.

dress1

When reversing the process, balancing the darkest pixel of the picture and the body con dress appeared blue and black. In that moment it was clear that the correct point in the picture to balance from was the black point.

This means when context is changing, so will the visual perceptions of people. Many of the people will see the blue on the white background as blue. But when put on a background some people might perceive to as white.

The moral of the story? Those who see the dress as white, are completely wrong.
Image Source: wired
Image Source: CHOIES
Image Source: amazon

Leave a Reply