White Dress Blue Dress, One Dress Two Dress Amazing Phenom!
One Dress, Two Dress, White Dress Blue Dress?
White dress, blue dress? What dress did you see? Which color of the white dress blue dress is correct? Is there a correct answer? The Optical Illusion that Nearly Ended My Marriage…
YES, we are going to discuss “THE Dress!” I simply cannot pass up the opportunity to examine the event that so clearly illustrated the unique differentiation between how our brains process and perceive the same physical information.
This one little dress caused more divide in our country than an upcoming Presidential election.
It also nearly caused my upcoming wedding never to happen.
I had been trying to explain for years that her future ADHD husband did not see things or process information the same way that she did. I warned her of the potential frustrations that would lie ahead when her husband forgot to…
(45 mins later…)
Sorry, bathroom break and then came back and saw there was a new update for Google Chrome. Plus, there was this….oh, right…the dress!
So, Why are we interested in “the dress?”
I feel it is a topic that is interesting, fun, and relevant, even though it may be a slight change of pace from our frequent discussions about ADHD treatments and/or how we can improve and enhance overall cognitive function and brain health while preventing decline.
In order to understand the white and gold OR blue and black dress, we need to use our brains in a different way in order to comprehend how and why our brains processed the same information, differently. Still with me? Fear not, you will be!
The White and Gold OR Blue and Black Dress “Seen” Around the World!
A few days ago, the white and gold or blue and black dress took the Internet by storm! Appropriately, the following day was the birthday of the legendary Dr. Seuss and just like any great Dr. Seuss riddle, the white dress blue dress provided us with a riddle of the mind.
When I saw this blue and black dress (The only way I have ever seen it), plastered all over social media and really started to think about it, I couldn't help but find myself fascinated by the whole concept of this phenomena. However, the discovery of “the dress,” occurred a little more abruptly.
It went a little something like this…
The White Dress and Blue Dress War that Nearly Ended My Marriage Before it Began…
Fiance’: “This is so stupid, come here for a minute. What color is this dress!?” (Turns her phone screen towards me)
Me: “Blue and Black, why…what are you reading?”
Fiance’: “Wait, what!? Are you screwing with me right now!? You are telling me that this dress is blue and black!?”
Fiance’: “I see white and gold! How do you see blue and black!? Please tell me you are messing with me!?”
Me: (I point out where I see blue and where I see black) “I feel like you are messing with me!? I don't even know what this is or really understand what you are talking about. Are you OK? What do you mean you see white and gold? We are looking at the same picture!?”
Uh-Oh, Here We Go…
Fiance’: “Holy crap, I think the the wedding's off!”
Me: “Don't worry, babe. Someone is going to come take you somewhere you can be safe and get the help you need.”
OK, so we didn't really call off the wedding and that twisted sense of humor is what I love so much about her, but the next several hours into the night and well into the next day was followed by complete disbelief.
I'll admit, I did a little gloating, when I learned that blue and black was the correct color of the dress. As the gloating got worse (come on, it's so rare I get a real opportunity to be right!), my fiance’ assured me that if she punched me in the eye, we would both be certain to see black and blue!
I'm still locked away and hiding, but let's get back to the science of the blue and black dress and how it relates to the way our brain's work, while viewing the image.
White Dress Blue Dress Science Discovery
Comments, theories, and “teams” were quickly formed before we started to see some real scientific explanations that would make the white dress blue dress phenomenon start to make any sense.
While some of the theories and conspiracy theories behind the white dress blue dress debate were entertaining, most people just wanted some sort of viable and logical explanation. Others simply cried, hoax!
Meanwhile, the Facts:
Some people presented “facts” (opinions and guesses) that had to do with individual personalities, emotions, religious beliefs, right-handed vs left-handed, eye shape, quality of vision, paper or plastic, Democrat or Republican and so on and so forth. It was quickly getting out of hand.
The truth was that for at least a few hours, the majority of the Internet had no idea! A few hours in Internet time seems like years in the real world. Just ask any celebrity who has left an ill-advised tweet up for 20 mins before their PR person made them take it down.
The Internet quickly divided itself into two teams or really, two hashtags. #TeamBlueDress, #TeamWhiteandGold or a close variation.
Of course, there were some that would see it one way one minute and another the next. And finally, we had those that were seeing completely different colors altogether. These people are commonly referred to as, “freaks,” but as our brother, sister, Mother, Father, etc, we accept and love them the same.
YES, I am kidding about the freak thing (kinda..). The entire experience was not only fascinating, but it was also very fun and generated some hilarious comments and debates!
While some people complained that it was a “waste of time” and people should “get a life” or show this much concern for “real” issues, many others, including myself, were fascinated by it and wanted to comprehend how and why two people could be looking at an identical image, yet see it in two vastly different ways!
The White Dress Blue Dress Brain Explained!
The light that your eyes see from any given object depend on how the object may be illuminated and the inherent properties of the particular object that you are viewing.
Meanwhile, your brain is working as quickly as possible in the background, trying to decipher the accurate color of the object.
Illumination can change, depending on a number of factors, such as the time of day or the particular type of lighting, but our brain's will almost always identify the real color of an object.
This fact is what made the white and gold or blue and black dress such a phenomena! It was a rare instance where some people's brains were convincing them that they were seeing a different color dress altogether.
This is because our brain's made different assumptions, based on how the dress was illuminated.
What were Our Brains Thinking?
In a split second, some people's brains assumed that the light on the dress was fairly dim and that the dress was decidedly reflective, revealing white and gold to those that found themselves representing that team.
However, when the brain essentially assumes the complete opposite and sees the light as very bright, it draws the conclusion that the actual color of the dress must be darker. Hence, revealing the blue and black.
We would eventually learn to the dismay of some, that the dress is blue and black, causing mass hysteria and defeat to team white and gold.
However, if you found yourself and/or still find yourself, only able to see white and gold (like my beautiful bride-to-be), you were actually in the majority. Only 25% of people were able to see the dress as, blue and black.
But Why Don't We See Colors Differently, More Often!?
Settle down, Beavis and I'll explain! Some members of team white and gold dress are quite upset by their lack of ability to see the true color of the blue dress. In all fairness, I can completely understand their frustration and as a stubborn, hyperactive, ADHD spaz, I would probably be screaming to the heaven's about this “injustice,” too.
However, there is a logical explanation.
Here's the deal about Colors and Context:
The image that we viewed was all about context. Hence, why everyone was able to see the dress as blue and black without the distraction of a unique and odd illumination of light.
Seeing the dress in a neutral light, reveals the fact that to even the most stubborn of people that the dress is blue and black. (Does one final victory dance) I kid, I just like annoying my fiance’ and for some reason she continues to love me.
Right, babe? Babe…? Hello? I wonder how many relationships this blue and black dress ended over the past few days…
Anyway, back to the neuroscience of this strange, yet interesting discovery.
But why don't we Experience More of these Color Differences in Everyday Life?
Had we all been viewing this dress “in real life,” it would be seen in a much larger field of view with other objects being illuminated in the same way. Therefore, our brains would be able to make the distinction between the lighting of the dress and it's inherent colors.
Again, it's all about context, which is why we see the dress as the “correct” color when the illumination is eliminated or the field of view is altered. Our brains played a trick on some of us, which is why the majority of people saw a white and gold dress.
It actually gets even MORE Frustrating…OR Interesting?
As many of us read in scientific explanation shared by “WIRED” magazine, light is essentially made up of different wavelengths. The brain perceives these wavelengths as colors.
When light enters the sensitive part of our eyes, called the retina, cone cells that are responsive to either red, green or blue are activated.
However, the wavelengths detected by your eyes are not necessarily the actual wavelengths of the object you are seeing in some cases. Meaning, the colors detected by your eyes may not be the color of the actual object.
This was the case with the white dress and blue dress. While, the explanation we have been given may at least make some sort of sense, it still does NOT explain why one person's brain may draw the conclusion that a particular lighting is one way, while another person's perception may be the complete opposite.
This makes this optical illusion both interesting and also frustrating for the many people trying to wrap their heads around it.
Perception and the Brain
I tend to believe that it is simply a case of perception, but on a much deeper level, considering that the actual color of the dress is not really open for debate when the illumination factors are taken out of the equation.
When we remove the white and gold or blue and black dress out of this one context and place it in a neutral setting, almost everyone can agree that the dress is blue and black.
Let's not take it out of the original context.
If we keep all things as they were when this image spread like wildfire across the World Wide Web (How bad did I just date myself), we keep all things equal, perhaps it is similar to having a different perception of something, like anything else.
As mentioned in our recent discussion about brain health supplements and the potential benefits that they can provide, everyone has a slightly different brain chemistry. Essentially, everyone is different. What may work for one person, may not work for another and the way one person perceives one thing, may be the complete opposite of someone else.
I believe our brain also reacts and perceives things differently, too, depending on the context in which they are presented.
The brain itself is incredibly ambivalent and it is only through our brains that we can hope to one day more effectively grasp this concept to understand why the white and gold dress for some, was actually a blue and black dress for others. #WhiteDressBlueDressProblems
Hey, it Could Have Been Worse, Right?
The white and gold or blue and black dress debate was certainly fun and interesting at the same time. There were some people who stuck their noses up at others for “caring too much” or “wasting their time,” when there are bigger problems or concerns in the world right now.
Here's the Deal ABout it All:
Personally, I think that is exactly the point! It's refreshing to take a break for a moment from politics, war, violence, crime, and the economy once in a while and hear about something that is unique, interesting and fun.
I will admit that some people may have gotten a little more caught up than others. While, the majority of us may have gotten a little too caught up or carried away with the white dress blue dress war, it still could have been more extreme, right?
I want to hear from You! Tell me your white dress blue dress experience. Share a story about your experience, theories or anything else that may be relevant. I would love to hear your take on the white dress blue dress marvel! Do you have a funny story to share? Did you lose any friends or have angry family members from the white dress blue dress experiment or simply just have a little fun?
Feel free to comment below!