Who’d have thought the colour of a dress would be a bigger meme on Twitter than Kim Kardashian’s new haircut? But it’s true it was, and the debate got pretty hot in some circles. There was no middle ground. You either saw blue and black or you saw yellow/gold and white. Except for a guy called Bevil Conway (a neuroscientist who studies colour and vision at Wellesley College) he saw blue and orange 🙂
I’ve always been interested in how and why people see things differently? It must account for a lot of why the world is in such crisis. And it seems to be true, that in some things, we quite literally see things differently, and there’s not a lot you can do to change that. It’s a brain thing.
For the dress debate (I’m a yellow and white person, btw) I made my way through an interesting post I found on Wired (The Science of why no one agrees on the color of this dress).
Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at, and essentially subtracts that color from the “real” color of the object. “Our visual system is supposed to throw away information about the illuminant and extract information about the actual reflectance,” says Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington. “But I’ve studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.” (Neitz sees white-and-gold.)
When Wired included this image I was astounded. There is no white on that dress?
To be honest, I’ve read the Wired article a few times, and I still don’t completely get/see it. But I do have to agree with their closing statement….
At least we can all agree on one thing: The people who see the dress as white are utterly, completely wrong.