What Color Is #TheDress?

posted: 02/27/15

Since this image was posted to Tumblr, everyone has been searching for the reason why this dress has sparked more controversy than Lady Gaga's Oscars ensemble. Thankfully, Wired came up with a pretty good reason: We all perceive things slightly differently.

Vision works like this: light hits the eye and is filtered through the lens - different wavelengths match up with different colors. From there, the colors go to the back of the eye and then to the brain, which then generates an image with the pigments. You also pick up the light that is illuminating from the object you're looking at. Luckily, your brain knows how to distinguish the illuminating light and the "real" color of the object. Though our brains usually do this for us, this particular image, with the lack of focus and bright light, is causing problems with our "perception barrier." Even vision experts are fooled. Wired quotes neuroscientist Jay Neitz: "But I've studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I've ever seen."

Bottom line: When we look at the image, our brains either ignore the blue side, causing us to see gold and white, or they ignore the gold side, causing us to see black and blue.

No matter what color this dress comes in, whether you see black and blue or gold and white, we know one thing we can all agree on: Stacy London would RUN.

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