Yesterday, Feb. 27, a picture of a dress from a Tumblr post went viral as the internet began to lose their heads in a debate over the subject’s color.
The two most supported color schemes of the bodycon dress were blue with black lace fringe or white with gold lace fringe, drawing a huge majority in a public poll to support the former scheme. However, the substantial amount of people that voted the other way indicated that there was a large majority of people who were either banded together in one enormous trolling joke, or were actually perceiving a completely different color to the dress.
Many explanations surfaced as the night went on from the eyes sensitivity to light, to having mostly to do with the white balance in the screen and the poor resolution of the camera used to take the photo.
Wired.com released a comprehensive explanation for what’s going on (and yes, the dress is indeed blue according to them), and after reporters and IFLS.com bombarded, and were bombarded, scientists with questions to reveal the science behind this mysterious viral post, one of the most popular explanations brought about on Reddit and agreed to on ASAP Science has to do with a phenomenon known as color constancy.
The perceived color of an object remains constant despite changes in the illumination conditions, or in other words, the context or surroundings in which an object we are looking at appears in, influences our perception of its color, according to IFLS.com.
To read more on the context of the picture, visit Wired and IFLS and read on for their structured, intelligent opinions on the matter.
What’s more interesting than the dress is itself is how well it polarized the internet for an entire half-day. The division between two groups was incredible, drawing over 200,000 people to cast a vote in which way they leaned towards in this optical illusion of sorts. Interestingly enough, or not perhaps, the viral post was killed off long before it really took hold of anyone.
Much like the “Left Shark” which took hold of the internet’s attention the week following Katy Perry’s halftime show at the Super Bowl, the dress meme was dried out and tired before it was really alive. For a brief moment, the internet thundered awake in a heated debate over the color of a dress found in Tumblr post, and just as quickly left as soon as reasonable explanation was presented.
Perhaps the event is more a comment on what motivates us to ask questions so feverishly, and what it takes to collectively grab an enormous portion of the internet community’s attention, than it does our curiosity in the unknown.