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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday February 28 2015, @07:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the Do-mine-eyes-deceive-me? dept.

Color scientists already have a word for it: Dressgate. Now the Washington Post reports that a puzzling thing happened on Thursday night consuming millions — perhaps tens of millions — across the planet and trending on Twitter ahead of even Jihadi John’s identification. The problem was this: Roughly three-fourths of people swore that this dress was white and gold, according to BuzzFeed polling but everyone else said it's dress was blue. Others said the dress could actually change colors. So what's going on? According to the NYT our eyes are able to assign fixed colors to objects under widely different lighting conditions. This ability is called color constancy. But the photograph doesn’t give many clues about the ambient light in the room. Is the background bright and the dress in shadow? Or is the whole room bright and all the colors are washed out? If you think the dress is in shadow, your brain may remove the blue cast and perceive the dress as being white and gold. If you think the dress is being washed out by bright light, your brain may perceive the dress as a darker blue and black.

According to Beau Lotto, the brain is doing something remarkable and that's why people are so fascinated by this dress. “It’s entertaining two realities that are mutually exclusive. It’s seeing one reality, but knowing there’s another reality. So you’re becoming an observer of yourself. You’re having tremendous insight into what it is to be human. And that’s the basis of imagination.” As usual xkcd has the final word.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by vux984 on Sunday March 01 2015, @10:21PM

    by vux984 (5045) on Sunday March 01 2015, @10:21PM (#151654)

    Are people really this fucking blind? The original photo is crappy, yes, but it's not so crappy that I can't see the dress, see that it's the same as the Amazon dress, and it even looks like the exact same colors!!!

    Sorry buddy, I saw white and gold. I had both photos open in a browser side by side, and I *still* saw white and gold. I am not color blind. I have a color corrected wide gamut S-IPS display... I saw white and gold. I couldn't even imagine how any one could see blue and black. The white... sure maybe because of the shadows etc could make the white look like a very pale blue... but the gold was still gold and didn't look black at all.

    Then today, I was reading your post, and felt I had to respond; so I pulled up the photos again. Today I was stunned... I saw blue and black. I thought maybe I was looking at a slightly different photo. I actually dug in my history to pull up exactly what I was looking at yesterday. And it was slightly different. The photo I was looking at yesterday; was just a link to the photo (so firefox displayed it on a black background). When I pulled them up today, I'd pulled it up on a white background embedded within an article. I dug further, the photos themselves were identical. But now even the one in the black background...I can see the blue and black; and I have no idea how i simply couldn't see it yesterday.

    Its not blindness. or perception issues.

    Its a gestalt switch...

    This is my favorite example: []

    Which way is she spinning? For some it clockwise for others it counter clockwise. For most of us if we try long enough, we can "flip" and see either. A few of us can do it at will; I can on many such gestalt illusions, but this spinning one... just spontaneously reverses on me from time to time. I can't make it happen by will.

    And for what its worth, my wife just walked into the room, I showed her the photo and she said "white and gold" without a seconds hesitation...

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