It all started on a Tumblr page where a user posted a photo of the dress that had the caption: “guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are [freaking out.]”
Today, we went around the office at WBOC and took a poll:
Team White & Gold
- Shannel Douglas
- Lisa Bryant
- Rachel Rae
- Emily Stern
- Brittany Cooper
- Lauren Hitch
- Chris Weimer
- Bill Mich
- Sean Streicher
- David Gordon
Team Blue & Black
- Jimmy Hoppa
- Megan Runser
- Paul Butler
- Evan Koslof
- Mikea Turner
- Lisa Moy
Most WBOC employees think that the dress is white and gold. However, the dress is actually blue and black. But, team white and gold is not alone. According to a Buzzfeed survey, 74% see white and gold, while 26% see blue and black.
The debate is all over social media! Twitter users were posting their opinions all afternoon:
However, there is actually some science behind all this. Your eyes have retinas which let you interpret color through cones and rods. The cones see color and the rods see shades, like black, white, and grey. However, the cones only work when enough light passes through. Therefore, if two people are looking at the same thing but each see a different color, it is because the cones are not responding to the dim lighting.
Here is some more science on how our eyes work from wired.com:
“The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image. Critically, though, that first burst of light is made of whatever wavelengths are illuminating the world, reflecting off whatever you’re looking at. Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at, and essentially subtracts that color from the “real” color of the object.”
Andy Rexford posted a tweet giving his personal explanation for people seeing different colors while looking at the same picture:
- Blue and Black: In conclusion, your retina’s cones are more high functioning, and this results in your eyes doing subtractive mixing.
Another idea of what it might be is how the brain interprets the light coming into your retina. Cedar Riener, associate professor of psychology at Randolph-Macon College, says “This light, called luminance, is always a combination of how much light is shining on an object and how much it reflects off of the object’s surface.”
“In the case of the dress, some people are deciding that there is a fair amount of illumination on a blue and black (or less reflective) dress. Other people are deciding that it is less illumination on a white/gold dress (it is in shadow, but more reflective),” Riener says.
Photoshop tells us that the places some people see as blue do indeed track as blue. But, that probably has more to do with the background than the actual color.