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White and gold or blue and black? #Thedress has confused the internet but science has the answer


Is the dress white and gold or blue and black?

Is the dress white and gold or blue and black?

Is the dress white and gold or blue and black?

The internet has been divided into two warring tribes by a picture of a dress functioning as an accidental colour perception experiment.

#TheDress, as it has become known, was spotted by a blogger who turned to Tumblr for help when the garment started an argument among her friends.

“Guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f*** out,” Swiked wrote.

Buzzfeed picked up the post and the freaking out has spread worldwide as the #blackandblue team failed to understand how the #whiteandgold team were looking at the same photo.

Even celebrities waded into the argument – a “confused and scared” Taylor Swift is firmly on the blue and black team, Anna Kendrick believes the opposite and Kimye can’t agree.

A straw poll of The Belfast Telegraph’s office came out on the white and gold side although it was a close call – and pretty heated.

Essentially we are all individually wired to see the dress in different colours and squinting, changing brightness and switching computers will do nothing to help you.

As Wired helpfully explains, different wavelengths of light that correspond to different colours enter our eye through the lens and hit the retina, where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, allowing the brain to form those signals into an image.

Our brain intuitively filters out backgrounds and lighting in order to see the “true” colour of an object but the bluish tint of the photo is affecting that ability.

“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,” Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist, told Wired.

“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.”

In real life, the dress is apparently blue and black. But we won’t let that spoil the fun.

Further reading

Belfast Telegraph