Science explains an Internet sensation
The Internet officially broke on Thursday night thanks to a dress that had defied the classification of color. Is it white and gold or is it black and blue?
“I’ve studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.” Jay Neitz, a color vision researcher at the University of Washington, told Wired.
However, the actual physiology of your eye might come into play with how you perceive the dress. According to Neitz, an individual’s lens, which is part of the eyeball, changes over the course of one’s lifespan. Individuals are less sensitive to blue light when they are older. Which could explain why older netizens are seeing white and gold. But, in the absence of hardcore data relating to age and perceptions regarding the dress, this theory cannot be proven yet.
At the same time, the way the dress is captured on camera could also be playing a significant role in this debate. According to Science Daily, humans are blessed with something called color constancy, which means that while color should be easily identifiable whether you’re in bright or dull lighting, things can change if the lighting is colored.
“The wavelength composition of the light reflected from an object changes considerably in different conditions of illumination. Nevertheless, the color of the object remains the same,” writes Science Daily.
So, because the photo is taken in lighting with a blue hue it may be causing the blues in the dress to reflect a white color. And while the dress may in fact be blue and black, the lighting does, for some viewers, make it appear to be white and gold.