The Dress Riddle that went Viral has now been established as a trick of light by scientistsDaniel McCarthy (Author) Published Date : May 15, 2015 16:13 IST
In February last, a picture posted on Tumblr came with a question asking for help to identify whether the dress was blue and black or gold and white. From Colonsay, a remote island in Scotland, the question went viral on Twitter and the opinions were split between family members, friends, celebrities and workmates. Even a confirmation from the manufacturer that the dress was indeed black and blue did little to help and millions of people simply refused to believe the statement.
Scientists have now joined the debate confirming that people who thought the dress to be gold and white were fooled by a trick of the light.
Three scientific studies that include one from University of Bradford now explain why. Scientists attribute the conflict to the brain mechanism used to make sure that an object is seen in the same color irrespective of the time of the day or the nature of light it is soaked in. In a bright and midday sun, the daylight tends to be bluish and therefore the blue light is subtracted by the brain. Similarly it rids the yellows in artificial light and the object is required to appear the same in both cases.
The mechanism crucially relies on other colors in the vicinity such as greens and reds to judge the quantum of yellow or blue to be removed. In this instant case, the reference colors were absent. Added to this is the fact blue in particular is tricky for the brain to deal with.
Bevil Conway, Neuroscientist of Massachusetts Institute of Technology asked over 1400 people about the dress and says that it is possible that those who spend significant time outdoor or had just returned from daylight took away significant amount of blue and saw the dress as white while others more used to artificial light had yellow subtracted and perceived the color as blue.
To compound the confusion there was even a third group which perceived the dress to be blue and brown, according to a report in journal Current Biology.
Dr.Conway added that initially he thought this to be simply a crummy photograph but now that it has come clear, it is a probe that helps understand the working of the brain.
The Dress Riddle that went Viral has now been established as a trick of light by scientists