A photo of a dress posted on Tumblr broke the internet yesterday when it sparked a major debate whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black.
Everyone got in on the fierce debate, even celebrities– and it’s even been freaking them out.
I don’t understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it’s a trick somehow. I’m confused and scared. PS it’s OBVIOUSLY BLUE AND BLACK
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 27, 2015
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) February 27, 2015
The truth is that the dress is in fact black and blue.
There were many different explanations of what could be the science behind why so many people see the colors of the dress differently. What it comes down to is individual color perception and lighting.
Wired gave an explanation:
Human beings evolved to see in daylight, but daylight changes color. That chromatic axis varies from the pinkish red of dawn, up through the blue-white of noontime, and then back down 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,” says Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black.” (Conway sees blue and orange, somehow.)
LiveScience offered an explanation as well:
“Your brain is always confronted with a problem,” David Williams, a vision scientist at the University of Rochester in New York, has a theory. “When you look at an object, the light your eyes see from the object depends on two things: how the object is illuminated, he said, and the intrinsic properties of the object. “So your brain is always working behind the scenes to figure out what the true color of the object is,” he said.
In the case of the dress, the reason some people see it as different colors is not because they’re colorblind, which is usually caused by a defect in a person’s color cones, nor is it some fundamental difference in color vision, Williams said. “I think the brain has just made a different assumption about how the dress is being illuminated.”
For example, if your brain assumes the lighting on the dress is very dim, it will assume the dress itself is highly reflective, or white and gold. But if your brain assumes the opposite (that the lighting is very bright), it then makes the judgment that the dress itself must be darker, hence blue and black.
— Adobe (@Adobe) February 27, 2015
— Dion Degennaro (@DionDege) February 27, 2015
Hilarious memes also took over the internet in response to the dress debate.
— Stuart Ledingham (@leddy6) February 27, 2015
— Tim Tagaris (@ttagaris) February 27, 2015
Buzzfeed took a survey to see how many people think it’s white and gold compared to blue and black. On other sites as well, quizzes show that most people are leaning toward white and gold.