Alright, so the world has seemingly become
utterly divided on this dress. What colours do you see? On one side we have team Black
and Blue – on the other, team White and Gold. We asked on twitter and got hundreds of responses
for both white and gold and black and blue. For what it’s worth, we both saw black and
blue and thought this was a massive prank at first. So how can it be possible for people
to see it so differently? It’s a phenomenon known as colour constancy.
Take this cube for example. The middle square on the top appears to be a shade of brown,
while the one on the side looks much more orange. But in actuality, they are both the
exact same colour. We promise we haven’t cheated here or done any trick photography.
Instead our brain looks at the context, sees a shadow, and instantly thinks “Oh – shadows
make objects appear darker”. And so the brain compensates and interprets the square
as lighter than it appears. Until the shadow is taken away. Back to the dress, and we have a similar situation.
Except here the context is very arbitrary – we’re so close up to the dress that we
don’t really know it’s surroundings and the brain has to make assumptions. People
who picture the dress as white, have brains which may be interpreting the dress in a blue-lit
room, for example; as in, it’s a near a window, with a bright blue sky. It makes perfect
sense then, that the white dress would be tinted blue and that the gold colour wouldn’t
really change. On the other hand, the brains of people who
see it as black and blue may be interpreting the dress in an artificially lit setting – with
yellow lights. As a result, the brain see’s the gold as just a reflection off of the black,
and believes that the blue has been unaffected. Chances are that this image just happens to
be perfectly ambiguous to our brain, meaning it all comes down to individual perception
and even how and where you view the image. From a factual standpoint, the dress is blue
– in fact, here are some other pictures of it. But this is a beautiful example of how
our brains have evolved to interpret the world around us, without us even realizing. Want more answers to the world’s craziest
phenomena? Get the AsapSCIENCE Book to feed your curiosity at asapscience.com/book. We’ll
put a link in the description – and subscribe to our channel for more weekly science videos!