The dress that has taken over the Internet is the dress that pretty much surpassed the amount of attention that any one garment of clothing has gathered since the dress of Monica’s Lewinsky’s that hit the headlines for its tell-tale stains. Is the dress blue and black or is the dress gold and white? This is the question roaring through the online world because folks see the dress colors differently.
People can battle out the color scheme online until the cows come home, but it all boils down to the way your brain takes in what your eye is seeing. According to Wired on Feb. 27, the difference in the way folks are seeing this dress comes down to “primal biology and the way the human eyes and brains have evolved to see color in a sunlit world.”
When your eyes take in an image, it is your brain that figures out what color light is bouncing off the object you are looking at. Then “your brain subtracts that color from the real color of the object.”
According to the Pittsburg Post Gazette, while this dress perception controversy was going on across the Internet, people in workplaces nationwide were debating the color difference. Some stood adamant that the dress was blue and black, while others couldn’t see anything but white and gold.
According to the New York Times, it was a wedding in Scotland where the mother of the bride wore this dress. When wedding pictures came back the discussion about the color of the dress started with some saying she wore black and blue and others saw her in white and gold. The bride posted this online to help decide just what color it was and to her surprise a global debate broke out over the dress.
Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, who sees the dress as white and gold, explains why this has happened. For the last 30 years Neitz has studied individual differences in color. He said that this dress offers one of the “biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.”
Neitz explains that “Our visual system is supposed to throw away information about the illuminant and extract information about the actual reflectance.” This is usually works just fine, but there is something in the image of the dress that “hits some type of perceptual boundary,” says Neitz. It could be that people see this dress differently because this is how people are wired, he suggests.
The bottom line is that half the people are seeing the image of the dress as black and blue and the other half are seeing white and gold on this dress. Neither are wrong, it is the way your brain is wired to see color and this image for some reason pushes the boundary of perception causing such a vast difference.