#THAT dress

In Just Science by Cheryl Wooodman6 Comments

#That dress

What…WHAT?!!!
I heard this debate on the radio first, ‘is it black and blue or white and gold’, I assumed they were just colour blind – haha! UNTIL… this weekend just gone, visiting a friend, she showed us (me + the boyfriend) the picture, well clearly its white and gold, I thought my friend was winding us up when she said she saw blue and black!! ARE YOU SERIOUS? (If you haven’t seen the picture yet, firstly – where have you been? Haha… but secondly, you can see it here).
 
WHY?
So, being a self-confessed geeky scientist I had to know why. Turns out I may be the one having faulty eyes – opps! Well not faulty but just not as good as interpreting what’s called white balance.
 
WHAT IS WHITE BALANCE?
Think of a camera taking a photo, it will automatically adjust the white balance by finding part of the picture which is defined as ‘true white’ and adjusting the rest of the colour based on this colour ‘coordinate’.
 
WHY DO I SEE IT AS WHITE AND GOLD?
Imagine a room with red walls illuminated by a white light OR a room with white walls illuminated by a red light. So the pictures would look identical, but our eyes would still try to pick out whether the colour was coming from the wall or the light being shone on it. How we see the picture depends on whether our brain thinks the red is coming from the light or the wall. Seeing the dress as white and gold means your eyes think the white light is actually the dress being white and not the light being white. But not to worry, normally our eyes are VERY good at this! Although it will make me think twice the next time my boyfriend tells me my top is orange and not red (as it clearly is!!), haha!
 
AND IT GOES FUTHER
There are a ton of visual illusions which play on white balance and how our brains ‘fill in’ the bits of information it thinks should be there. I love this one which is pretty similar to #Thatdress, you can see it here.
 
Which colours did you see?