Black and blue vs white and gold: What do you see?

Black and blue vs white and gold: What do you see?

A dress has taken over the Internet where everyone can't seem to decide if it is black and blue or white and gold this Friday.

A photo of the dress was posted on Tumblr user swicked's page with the caption: "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".

The dress captured our attention at AsiaOne and a huge debate ensued.

Out of 12 of us, a majority saw blue and gold while two of us saw white and gold. The others, who made around three people, said blue and black.

The debate of what colour the dress really is has caused a storm online. Singer Taylor Swift tweeted that she saw it as black and blue, which was also reported by Time magazine.

Comedian Mindy Kaling tweeted that she saw it is as blue and black, to which actress Julianne Moore replied that it's white and gold.

This was also reported by Daily Mail.

A poll on Gawker said 76 per cent (making 117,200 votes) found it to be white and gold while 24 per cent (37,600 votes) sees it as blue and black.

Business Insider reported that when they put the dress into Adobe Photoshop, the colours fall on the black and gold border as well as the blue and white border.

However, Adobe tweeted "For those seeing #WhiteandGold in #TheDress" showing the colours falling in the blue and brown spectrum.

Back on the swiked Tumblr page, another post showed that the dress was worn at a wedding and it appeared a royal blue and black then.

What seems to be the buzz online is why does everyone see a different colour in that particular photo of the mysterious dress.

Buzzfeed offered an explanation: "It's about how your brain is interpreting the light coming into your eyes."

It quoted Cedar Riener, associate professor of psychology at Randolph-Macon College, in its report as saying that the light, which is called luminance, is "always a combination of how much light is shining on an object and how much it reflects off of the object's surface".

With the case of the dress, some see more illumination while others see less therefore the colours are reflected and interpreted differently - hence a vast spectrum of light colours such as the white and gold versus dark colours such as the black and blue.

"Our visual system is supposed to throw away information about the illuminant and extract information about the actual reflectance," said Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in a Wired report.

This means that your brain tries to figure out what colour light is bouncing off whatever it is you are looking at, and then subtracts that colour from the "real" colour of the object, added the Wired report.

What you have been looking at before and the amount of light entering your eyes plays a factor in the interpretation.

Neitz noted to Wired that this was the biggest individual differences he's ever seen in his 30 years of his study of colour vision.

What do you think?

spanaech@sph.com.sg


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