The last time I almost went blind staring at “that dress” was thanks to Liz Hurley and on this occasion I find myself equally unsatisfied.
I’ll spare you the introduction about the amazing blue/black or white/gold dress. But what’s left me rather disappointed are the numerous ‘science of the dress’ articles that have appeared everywhere and say they’ve explained the effect through colour constancy.
Firstly, this doesn’t explain what we want to know – which is why people differ in their perceptions, and secondly, I don’t think colour constancy is a good explanation on its own.
To explain a little, colour constancy is an effect of the human visual system where colours are perceived as being different depending on their context as the brain adjusts for things like assumed lighting and surroundings. Here’s a good and topical example from XKCD. The dress colours are the same in both pictures but the seem different because the background colour is different.
An important feature of the visual system is that the experience of colour is not a direct result of the wavelength of the light being emitted by the surface. The brain modifies the experiences to try and ensure that things appear the same colour in different lighting because if we just went off wavelength everything would wildly change colour as it moved through a world which is lit unevenly and has different colour light sources.
Visual illusions take advantange of this and there are plenty of examples where you can see that even completely physically identical colours can be perceived as markedly different shades if the image suggests one is in shadow and the other in direct light, for example.
Firstly, this isn’t an explanation of why people differ in perceiving the dress. In fact, all of the ‘science explanations’ have simply recounted how perceived colours can change but not the most important thing which is why people are having two stable but contradictory experiences.
Colour constancy works on everyone with normal colour vision. If you take the panels from the XKCD cartoon, people don’t markedly disagree about what the perceived colours are. The effect of each image is very reliable between individuals.
That’s not the case with the dress. Also, if you say context makes a difference, changing the surroundings of the dress should change the colours. It doesn’t.
Some have argued that individual assumptions about lighting in the picture are what’s making the difference. In other words, the context is the unconscious assumptions people make about lighting in the picture.
But if this is the case, this still isn’t an explanation because it doesn’t tell us why people have different assumptions. Psychologists called these top-down effects or, if we’re going to get Bayesian, perceptual priors.
75% of people in this BuzzFeed poll said they saw white/gold, 25% said they saw blue/black, and a small minority of people say they’ve seen the picture ‘flip’ between the two perceptions. How come?
And there’s actually a good test of the colour constancy or any other other ‘implicit interpretation’ explanation. You should be able to create images that alter the visual system’s assumptions and make perception of the dress reliably flip between white/gold and blue/black, as with the XKCD cartoon.
So, any vision scientists out there who can come up with a good explanation of why people differ in their perceptions? Psychophysicists, have I gone wildly off track?
70 thoughts on “Actually, still no good explanation of ‘that dress’”
Maybe the difference is in the eye and not the brain. From various incidents in clothes shops, I have noticed that my colour constancy for blues is better than my wife’s but she is better on browns/greens. This may have something to do with the fact that I have mild red-green colour deficiency.
Perhaps the differing perceptions is to do with statistical distributions in the relative concentrations of cones in the retina amongst the population. The intensity with which you perceive contextual colours may affect how colour constancy works. Perhaps there’s a tipping point and the people who flip are on it.
Thank you for pointing this out. I kept getting frustrated about everything I read about it, so I did an informal poll & found some interesting differences: http://www.stilllearning-dac99a.blogspot.com/2015/02/who-saw-what-colors-in-thedress-my-poll.html?m=1
My guess is that these differences in perception are the summation of all prior visual experiences. They were learned. Since people inherently have different experiences, they will perceive things differently. For instance, if someone has had a past experience where similar colors revealed themselves to be blue/black upon closer inspection, the brain will learn to interpret the colors as such. The converse is true as well with white/gold. The brain choses it’s perceptions based on relative experiences. Thoughts?
I’ve seen the dress photo quite a few times over the last two days and seem to be in the minority(?) of people who see both colours.
Unlike most optical illusions, the colour of the dress doesn’t change while I’m looking at it. Instead, it takes a few hours of me being occupied by other things for the colours to switch.
Each time I look at the dress, the colours are unambiguous and – had I not previously seen a different colour – I wouldn’t believe that anyone could see differently.
I have looked at the photo on the same screen and the same website(s) and haven’t been able to notice a pattern to the changes in colour. It’s not distance, ambient lighting, emotional or physical state etc.
Because of this, I’m convinced that the colour of the dress depends entirely on some sort of imperceptible bistable intrinsic state of the brain.
I think that a satisfactory explanation of the colour inconsistencies would require a description of how neuronal network activity leads to qualia. So all that’s needed is for us to solve the hard problem of consciousness.
One thing to have in mind though, you might have the .gif image with a slow time and it might not be the time of the day that switches as the article above says it might be the photo itself to the 2nd one the .gif image contains. Even if you label them as .jpeg I have seen this happening where a pic changes way later on ot the other one.
“You should be able to create images that alter the visual system’s assumptions and make perception of the dress reliably flip between white/gold and blue/black.”
I created an image that does the trick for me – I can see the original (center) image as white/gold or blue/black depending on if I start viewing the images from the left or the right: http://i.imgur.com/krB3XYg.jpg
Thanks for sending those pictures. They confirmed me that almost always I’ve seen the picture in middle, or maybe the next one to the left, except for that one time I describe in other comment. Any more “centrists” out there?
Actually, now I have a puzzle of my own. Why do people see either the white/golden, others see blue/black, while I consistently see just light blue/olive.
This actually gives me an idea. The right side of the picture is very bright, while the left side of the picture is darker. It may be that a person who looks at the picture left-to-right gets their brain cued one way (gold-white in a dark room), and people who look right-to-left get their brain cued another (black-blue washed out in a bright room.
Given that English is read lef-to-right, that might explain why most people see the dress as gold-white.
There are two things to explain. Why the dress looks white and gold (to some) is explained by the color constancy mechanism. The second mystery is the individual difference (or bistability within individual effect). As far as I know, there is no good explanation currently for why this stimulus straddles an individual difference line; Jay Neitz said as much in his quotes for Wired. I expect the dress and derivations of it to be featured heavily on “demo night” at upcoming meetings of the Vision Sciences Society as this gets explored!
Almost always when I’ve seen that picture, I’ve seen kind of gold+light blue. I’ve never seen pure white, it always had light blue to it as well. However, the blue I saw never was the deep blue of the actual dress color. Maybe what I see is quite close to the “actual” colors in the image? In any case, I guess I’m still more of the golden camp.
Last night when I had spent a long time in dark, without lights, running a program on my machine that reduces blue light after sunset (f.lux) and also some meditation in a dark room, I switched on my iPhone and read my RSS feed. The first post was also again about this dress issue. It had put next to each other pictures of the dress advertisement with actual colors and this image. I thought wow, now I see them the same cool. Then I scrolled down to read what they had written about it. When I scrolled up again, I was again seeing the golden version. Perhaps there were two issues in my case which helped me to see the deep blue dress. I had spent a long time in darkness, without much blue light exposure, so when the next thing I saw was the dress, I or my body interpreted the dress being in a similar lightning. I don’t mean just switching mental “context”, but some deeper adaptation that happens with changes in blue light, etc. Second, the image on my iPhone screen was also so tiny it was harder to see the real colors of those pixels.
I don’t have any one explanation, but that’s how I managed to see the deep blue version for a short time, and it perhaps was somehow related to the way I was adapted to the dark over a longer period of time.
This is the explanation that’s made the most sense to me so far, and it does address “why do some people see it one way and others the other”; no idea if it’s actually accurate or not, though. A friend said she and her husband both saw white and black and their kids (2, both under 5yo) both saw blue, so that could lend this idea credence, or could be an argument for Ryan’s experience idea: http://alithea.tumblr.com/post/112182288558/oh-my-god-here-is-everything-you-need-to-know
I am partially colour-blind so my brain is quite used to flipping colours. If I mistake a subtle shade of green for pink and someone corrects me, I then see it as green, etc. Perhaps because of this, I was easily able to see the dress in either permutation, by telling myself that that’s what I was seeing.
The problem seems to be in the realm of colour-constancy.
I’ve noticed that if I look at the picture on an LCD monitor, then my position relative to the mo it or changes my perception of the colors. I suspect this might be part of what’s going on.
I found that if I used an editing tool to take a small cut out of the dress and looked at that on in isolation then the blue really stood out (I do see white and gold when viewing the full image). And the gold does seem darker in the cut out section. Others might try this to see if it helps to alter color perception.
Does this mean you’re not buying the NY Times’ explanation?
It explains why everyone would see different colours in different contexts, not why some people see different colours with the same context.
I’d love to test color perception and correlate it with stress hormones. My hypothesis would be that higher levels of stress hormones correlate with black and blue perception.
I would like to know why we have not seen this type situation before.
Your hypothesis actually makes sense to me but I think it is the other way around. I see the dress as white/gold and my friend sees it as blue/black. I know for a fact that my stress levels are way higher than hers. Also if it were stress related it would make sense that high stress levels cause you to see white/gold since the majority of the world is always very stressed and sees these colours.
Almost all explanations to the colour of the dress is related to our eyes but I think the answer is within our brain function since the reason we can see is because of our brains working.
To offer a Talmudic wisdom teaching: “We don’t see the world as it is; we see the world as we are.”
I’m 72 and I have a cateract in my left eye and have had surgery to remove one from my right eye.
To my right eye, the dress is ‘snow blue’ or ‘white cloud’ blue and dark gold. To my left it is yellowish white and pale gold.
So if you comment on this post, I think you should declare your age! It is well known that older eyes see less of the blue end of the spectrum and older ears less of the high frequencies of sound. I know I have just been fitted with hearing aids as well!
However, what you see white and gold or black & blue other person might see it the other way around.
I call priming, social priming. The whole fiasco is a result of the initial discrepancy between the dressmakers who took a crappy picture of their dress and inadvertently trolled the planet. (add internet-virus-epidemiology, plus the fact that most people taking these “tests” or surveys are doing so on a phone or tablet where the viewing angle is wildly variable and thus subject to distortion…) Please, mindhacks, vindicate me!!?
I think the key is: Is the part of the dress you see in shadow, or is the brightness of the upper right corner because the photo is overexposed?
This assessment is context dependent and can flip, and I would argue that color constancy works differently depending on where you perceive the illumination to be coming from.
I can consistently switch from one to the other interpretation by changing the environment between daylight and candle light (leaving display settings constant). That makes me believe that it has something to do with the white balancing in the visual system which is presumably individually calibrated. Those who can consciously switch are possibly calibrated in a way that the two interpretations are close to being in a draw situation in their given environment.
Yes, the environment seems to alter my perception of the picture as well, though not very drastically. When I first saw the dress on my iPad, I was looking at it on iPad in a sunny morning bus. I saw olive and light blue. One night when I had spent time in dark or candle light, I saw it almost the same as the Amazon picture. Now it’s a grey morning here, and I see it a bit more blue/black.
Our monitors typically also emit lots of blue light, which causes the body to adapt to more daylight mode even if it’s other dark. Note that with blue light I don’t mean that the monitor makes the dress more blue. The blue light part of monitor screen makes the screen more bright sun like, compared to more candle light like when you adjust the blue light lower.
Other people also live in places with much brighter daylight than what I have here in grey northern Finland at this time. If I watched at the picture in Greece at summertime, perhaps I’d see it as more white gold?
Blue, black, white? All I see is gold and purple. Despite having multiple normal color vision tests, no one ever agrees with me about color.
Which makes me think this dress is so “unique” only because we don’t normally spend time asking each other what colors we see.
I’ve experienced three (subjective) versions of this picture. When I first saw it, it was white/gold. A few seconds later it switched to light blue/yellowish-brown, and now (after a long break) I see blue/black.
This is NOT about what the colour is of the original dress, or whether the photo is a good photo. The issue is why, looking at the photograph as given, different people see different things.
It is also not about “figure-background” as xkcd would have it, since everyone looks at the same picture. The background in fact is an almost upre white, so that theory should say that the dress should seem to be dark blue.
Also there seems to be belief that there is some “actual” colour of the picture dress, so that some people are wrong and others right, which is nonsense. There are of course loads and loads of colours in the dress, in the lace, etc.
I at first saw blue and black, and then blue and mostly black but sort of a bronze tinge in the upper part. Then I, a few hours later, saw white and bronze for all the dark stripes, which then quite quickly morphed into blue and bronze everywhere. Now it is pretty stable at blue and bronze– not black.
When I saw blue and black I simply could not imagine how anyone could see white and gold. And then it happened to me. Again, it is now hard to imagine how anyone, including me could see the dress as white, but my memory still reports that I saw it that way and reports it that way to my minds eye in the memory of that time, although now I “see” it as blue.
It is a fascinating example of the active participation the brain takes in our perception of the world. Possibly the reason it has taken off is because people find that very uncomfortable to admit, that their eyes and ears do not purely report what is out there. Most illusions are highly artificial, and can be dismissed as of no consequence. This one is not. It is just a picture of the kind most of us could have snapped.
There actually are “actual” RGB color values in the picture. It’s not about who is right or wrong, but for instance the blue pixels in the dress are different, lighter blue than in the Amazon picture. I once managed to see the Amazon photo and this photo as the same blue, though in reality they are not the same blue. Likewise, the pixels in the dress are never close to pixels that are considered white, they certainly have much blue in them.
This is so much simpler than most sources are making it out to be. It boils down to white balance (which most people are unaware of) and the fact that the colors in the photo are middle values. The middle-value colors plus lack of lighting context makes perception ambiguous. More people see it as white and gold because more people are assuming the lighting is a cloudy-blue cast because that’s more common in photography. The 25% seeing it as blue and black are assuming bright, sunny, gold lighting, which is less common. I explain in-depth here: http://qwirksilver.tumblr.com/post/112223036215/mikerugnetta-best-text-posts-okay-guys-for-real
I really like your point about the ambiguity: The photo is so poor [poor lighting, camera sensor, and white balance] that there’s barely enough information for our brains to make a determination on the white balance. In that case, the determination is practically a coin flip, very sensitive to our assumptions and experiences, which explains both why people fall into two camps and why some people actually flip between the two answers.
I think you’re oversimplifying the question of the light sources, though: Couldn’t the lighting could be yellowish without the dress being in bright sunlight? It could look that way because of any combination of lighting [natural and/or artificial], crappy camera sensor, and bad white balance. The lighting does seem yellowish to me [and the dress clearly black+blue] but doesn’t look like direct sunlight, partially because the background is so much more brightly lit.
Oh, it could certainly be yellowish lighting without being in bright sunlight! 🙂 It’s just some kind of bright yellow light.
I know you’re discounting “priors” but I was orig in gold/white crowd, have since switched, and I feel like my prior cultural experience influenced my original interpretation.
I had a distinct thought process while trying to wade through this in early hours of its virality, which “Hmm, I’ve seen more Roman-style dresses in gold/white color schemes, and more gold/white clothes in general. It’s most likely gold and white.” After this process I could not see blue and black no matter how hard I tried to flip it.
Once Amazon.com images of the dress surfaced and I saw the verifiable reality of the dress, within ten minutes of looking at the dress I was able to flip my perception to blue/black. Same monitor, same conditions, only about an hour and a half time separation. Since that point, I have been able to occasionally flip back to gold/white if I view a white-corrected image first, but it soon flips back.
n=1 for sure, but I was very aware of my prior experience influencing perception here.
Totally agree about the white/gold color scheme for a dress. It seemed to me (suuuper unscientific counting here!) that most of my friends on fb who were female saw white/gold and their male significant others saw black/blue. I just figured (if there really was a gender slant going on) it was because females were more used to seeing lacy white/gold dresses in the media than they were seeing lacy blue/black dresses.
The 52-person survey posted and linked to by Daniel above agrees with the gender difference you saw anecdotally: among women, 67% saw white and gold; 15% saw black and blue. Among men, 28% saw white and gold; 52% saw black and blue.
Ohh, thanks for that data!
I’ve been seeing the colors vary between several combinations as I look at it, though in the first instant my perception was of white and gold.It becomes blue and brown, blue and gold, blue and black, white and peach, etc. while looking at it.
I have the sense that I’m adjusting my perceptions to account for the lighting in the picture, then adjusting them again to pick out the other colors.
Since I have synesthesia (though not primarily the type involving sight) I wondered if this was responsible for my rapidly changing perceptions. No idea,though,really.
Is the difference in perception holds when the picture is printed on paper and the people with different opinions look at the same print? I know from having worked with photoshop that some colors are deemed web safe and others not. I am wondering if this plays a role here…
I think Kristine has it right. Also, viewing angle is likely a factor, as BrightUmbra said. Another factor would be monitor calibration, which can vary enormously across devices.
Someone may already have done it, but I have yet to see a survey in which people are asked about the viewing device and ambient lighting conditions, which should be the very first place to look for an explanation.
Are those xkcd dresses really supposed to look different? They look identical to me. And whenever I’ve seen the three-panel version of the original image corrected for white balance in order to show what the whiter-viewers are seeing against what the blue-viewers are seeing, every single one of them looks blue to me. Differences in background and white balance haven’t changed my perception of the blueness whatsoever.
Might the horizontal bars of the dress alter the timing sequence in different people’s photon receptors somehow so that some see blue and black and some see white and gold?
Would the effect work in a dress with different shaped or different width bands?
I saw the dress as blue and black, even in the pictures that were supposedly lightened to make it look white and gold. However, when I imagined the dress in the original picture backing away from me it changed to white and gold.
One site I read suggested that if you start scanning the image from the top there are more white highlights, so you may be more likely to assume the source of light is in front of the dress. If you look at the whole picture or the bottom of the dress first, you are more likely to see the white highlights as outliers and judge the color based on the darker blue areas.
I’m social cog, not vision, but I have some recollection of a relationship between judging light sources and distance. Anyway, the explanation that allows one to see both, under the same conditions, which is consistent with my own experience.
Invert the image on your computer.
Google says the dress is black and blue …
Simply put this is a marketing ploy. Some people are shown image of blue and black dress. The image is then inverted and becomes gold and white and then some are shown the gold and white. No where is there an image of the dress with people see different colors at the same time. Does anyone see the image posted on this page as black and blue?
Has anyone looked at the image with someone else present who sees a different color? Answer no!
The marketing ploy uses kanye west and kim to strengthen its argument that people are seeing different when in effect people are being shown two images of the same dress.
I have a copy on my phone of what the dress as Blue and Black/Brown and a photo of what I see as Gold and White/Blue.
When my girlfriend’s brother looks at both pics he sees both in the blue black.
I see gold white on one and blue black on the other.
Others say same about the two pics.
Explained in the video
Good Point. It also shows much of a trust-issue. I had people too telling me they don’t see any gold/brown in it even when I lightened it up. I didn’t really believe them that it’s just pure black for them – And yes, now most of the time I see it pure black too, with some gray highlights.
I tend to think it might be the brain trying to see something that isn’t there.
There is brown (RGB-Values) in it, and there is gray/black in it, but the brain tries to see it as a whole, compensating the differences and shades.
We are trained to see shimmering gold, and we are trained to see black. I can see the light reflekting on a black surface seeing white there, but still know it’s pitch black. Or I see only a little reflection of gold in a rather dark place and the brain tries to see the gold as a whole, realizing it must be rather dark there when the gold is reflecting only such a little – Doing a lot of compensation that affects other areas….
I can a little steer at will how much gold I see there – even to the ammount that I dont see a difference to the lightened up pic I have on the computer at the same time – but then it collapses. Especially the neck area doesn’t let me see it gold, but I remember that was the most golden for me. I also think the background appeared darker to me when it was white/golden.
Answer Yes! My wife and I were looking at the same image, same time, same lighting, same viewing angle. I saw light bluish white and gold, she saw blue and black.
I then showed her that photo of the actual dress in a clothing shop where its black/gold colors are visible to all. I switched between them and the “disputed” one. She said the color is the same in both of them. Yet to me, the one remains yellow/gold and the other blue/black. And yes, for me, the colors remain the same even when all context is removed by zooming way in or sampling the color and pasting it on a white workspace using windows paint.
Very strange. There has to be psychological/cognitive reason.
Here is a proposed rough experimental setup. I will be taking all context out of the dress photo by making “paint” chips from sampled pixels of the photo placed on a white paper background – then handing out the “chip” samples to various people and asking them what color the “chips” are. In one sample group, I will not utter the word “dress”. In the other group, I will mention “the dress”. Following this, I will then ask each test subject what color they saw in the famous photo. This results in four The null hypothesis is that there will be no significant in the color judgments between the two groups. The hypothesis being tested is that mention of “the dress” will result in a significant change in the described color of the chips – due to a heretofore unrecognized cognitive factor in color perception.
Jon Lieff, MD thinks the color of the dress depends upon how your brain corrects for the imagined light source (Semi-related note: Most of our brains operate from an overhead light source bias)…
I saw the dress as black and blue, I still see the dress as black and blue, and no matter what is being done with the image, I keep seeing the dress as black and blue.
I cannot for the life of me imagine how anyone, ever, would see the brighter color as “white”. I guess I’m the minority.
I have myopia, and from my experience, my judgments about colors are a bit ‘off’ compared to other people. I remember having a discussion about background color of a slide, when I saw other people’s ‘grey’ as blue.
This might be a point in favor of David Winter’s idea.
I am in the group that see the dress flipping between the two colour choices. And yes, I blink and the dress changes colours. And even without blinking, the dress changes colours for me while I am staring but get slightly distracted.
I’m a female. 33 years old. Dark brown eyes.
It is often easier to test some explanations than discuss them. So we’re looking into this illusion with the help of online quiz http://chetvericov.ru/tests/thedress/quiz.html . I’d be gratefult if you could share it. It tests your ability to discriminate colors and your perception of light sources in the image.
Finally an explanation!
If you look at the picture on a cellphone, tablet , you will see the white and gold. However if you tilt your cellphone and look at it from the side you will see black and blue, this is simply being caused by the type of screen you are using and the angle you are veiwing the picture at. The different colors are being caused by the display.
It works with almost any image on your screen if you look at it with the screen at an angle.
That makes sense.
A lot of screens (Apple products in particular) also create artificial color balance, which means colors on different devices could be different without the users noticing.
Yes if it was some kind of illusion, then a paper print of the image, should give the same results, but people get different results due to using different screens with different display settings and looking at it from different angles.
No matter what angle my friends and I view the images we all get same results.
I have a pic that shows a blue and black dress one right side and gold and white on left side. When we look at pic some of us see both blue and some of us see gold white, blue black.
we have viewed several websites and tried different angles, and even cut and paste parts of picture. But still same results.
This is hands down the best explanation I’ve seen. The picture is terrific. And if you experiment with covering the block in the picture with a paper so you can’t see the block and shadow, you can start to see the shading of the two squares re-align.
I think the problem that science has here is that it’s hard to take quickly the “neutral position”, unless you got the luck being a scientist plus can flip the dress at will. And serious science on a new effect can’t happen overnight, especially when it’s not so easily reproduce- and meassureable.
What I found out/can confirm so far – without any real visual/medical science background.
There are more factors not just one:
1. Knowing the dress
I think it’s becomming less likely to see the white dress after you saw it changing a few times, but still can flip between black/darker blue and gold/lighter blue.
2. Monitor backlit
When I saw the dress for the first time it was on TV, it flipped like 4 times back and forth for me, being convinced that it’s a changing animated gif, completely hoax thing. having it on my phone I saw it white/gold without doubt. My wife looking at the same picture, undoubtfully saw black and blue – so definitely not a hoax. Looking at the picture from differend angles (especially from the right edge) suddenly showed the dark blue – but as soon as I went back – brain snapped into white/gold mode again – staying there rather strongly.
3. Gray Highlights/golden glow
When I now (not seeing white anymore) look at the area below the waist on the left side in combination with the right angle to have shiny monitor backlight I can trick myself into believing this is gold. Especially when zooming into that region making it happen there and slowely zooming out again. It also helps when the dress’s surface doesn’t make the wave – I mean the fabric obviously goes a little back and comes to front again in the middle area (from left to right) Simply having the dress not that form but interpreting it as variation in the hight and not making the move back – that makes it more brownish/golden for me and the blue lighter. There is no way to see the gold and dark blue at the same time. As soon it gets golden the blue is lightening up. This effect should be possible in print too, especially when glossy.
4. When I saw the dress flipping I remember it was like somebody was switching on and off the light. I tried to just darken/lighten the background without changing the dress to make the effect stronger/happen, that did nothing for me, I mean besides a bit of what was explained by xkcd-comic. Maybe the bright light is what alarms the brain at first into blanking out the blue – like if you look at the blue sky and get looking too close to the sun… okay, it’s probably getting just wacky here.
5. Shadow over-compensation
When seeing the dress completely white I remember the gold really glowing – now its rather brownish-gold. And the blue was so light/grayish that there was no doubt this is only a VERY bit of blueish shadow, and everybody else is just getting that wrong. Yeah that color consistancy theory might dip in here, but I dont understand why I can’t reproduce it. Possibly the brain slowely adapts on that white/blue because it knows it made a mistake and so the huge effect might be slowely dying for everyone experiencing it.
My theory is that this is a case of Emperor’s New Dress. Everybody sees the same, but it’s cool to be different, so people convince themselves that they see god-knows-what colors just to feel special.
There were just too many people seriously trying to understand but not getting how somebody (trustful – even standing next to them looking at the same device) could describe the picture so very different from their own experience.
What a sad world if everybody had to say the dress is black and blue just because the emporer can’t be naked.
Typical case of somebody trustworthy:
Right, I want to know how one person can see yellow where another sees black. In only THIS ONE PICTURE of this dress and nowhere else. And why everyone agrees on the color when they see the dress in RL or in other photos, but not in this one particular cellphone pic.
Did anyone think of trying to take a second pic of the dress with the same cellphone in the same place with the same lighting? To see if the effect was reproducible?
Stays blue for me.
I had a lot of questions and prepared some tests for the case that I find somebody who didn’t hear about the dress yet(to eliminate any “expectations or other similar effects”) and uninfluenced says “white and gold” when I’m showing it.
I was lucky this weekend, and it surprisingly negated almost all of my theories.
Without any warning I showed the pic on my smartphone – monitor-settings normal but the brightest backlit it would go – for me clearly blue and black – was identified as white and gold.
setting the monitor darker didnt change anything, also hiding parts of the picture still kept it white and gold. (I myself experienced that myself too when I first saw it). Also the effect seeing it blue/black from the very side but flipping immediately back could be confirmed.
I showed the same pic on the computer and it was recognized as the “same white and gold dress”. I then told about the controversy.
I covered parts of the dress on the computer and no matter what I did – it stayed white and gold. Even darken the pic didn’t change anything. Except for “ok now its too dark to see the actual colors”, and it was really very dark then.
I showed 3 pictures that have the same colors and even the form of the dress but in a caleidoscope way so that it looked like a blue-black star with very bright lights (which are part of the original picture). The colors were identified as black and blue, but completely different from the dress pic – although the colors itself were identical.
OKAY… what to do next? 🙂
I then showed other versions of the dress – not like a general brighter version like its circulating on the net but rather pretty much like I remembered seeing it as white and gold with a darker background (she described it slightly different and didnt see the background as dark). I flipped between the versions a few times and it was “darker and brighter” for her but still white and gold. OKAY, I gave up.
just 10 secounds later she said – wow now something happened – and the dress started flipping to black and blue and back for her without me changing anything. I showed it again on the phone – there white and gold and blue and black on the Computer. WOW.
Covering on the computer and showing only the top made it white and gold again, stayed and when showing the whole pic it flipped back to blue and black after a few secounds. But showing it on the phone – it was still white and gold no matter what I did. Just for zooming in very close showed more blue and brown than white and gold for her.
I think I can say it’s not an obvious lighting/optical illusion or anything that can be reproduced when “looking differently at the pic” or from changing the background.
If I had access to an MRI I’d like to see whats the difference between first time showing and then. Especially when the dress is flipping. But also an Eye dedector would be cool to see where somebody looks at first when seeing white and gold and if there’s some relevance to that….
Until somebody reserches that it remains mysterious for me.
Einstein or Monroe?