Everything is a matter of perspective, they say, and perspective can sometimes be defined by actual sight. Some while ago, a media frenzy was dragging our eyes into a simple picture with a double-shaded dress. For some of us, that particular dress appeared in white and gold while for others it appeared in shades of blue and black. The clear differences in color perception were a good starting point for researchers to dig deeper into this territory.
This is not a matter of optical illusions, of images that are especially constructed to mislead the eye and offer holograms of opposite or different shapes, colors and textures. The Dress is about reality and it represented the first time a single image could be seen in completely different colors by an impressive number of different people.
The Dress is a case of clear changes in the way we perceive the outer reality and of the clear differences, this time in shades but maybe in substance also, at different levels.
Scientists conducted a study to demonstrate the nature of differences on the way we perceive colors. The team surveyed 1.041 individuals. 300 of them had never seen the picture of The Dress. After the picture was revealed, each study subject was asked to highlight the colors they saw.
The survey revealed large differences in the colors reported by participants.
The main color groups were black and blue, with 57% of study subjects describing it accordingly, 30% of participants were seeing The Dress in white and gold and 11% described it as blue and brown.
Consequently, the color perceptions were varying on age and gender. Older individuals and women are more likely to see the Dress in white and gold while young people tend to see it in black and blue.
But why do these differences appear?
According to Bevil Conway, member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wellesley College, MA, it may be down to the brain’s expectations of light in a particular environment.
This is a precious insight on how light is contaminated by outside illumination. What the eye sees is a question of what we make our brains into believing and differences have interfered because of the artificial factors we are constantly being exposed to.
Do we get rid of the shorter, blue wavelengths, the “artificial light enhancers” or do we eliminate the longer, redder wavelengths, the “natural light enhancer”. This decision affects the ways in which we see The Dress and gives insights on how unconscious choices can modify the face of reality.
Image Source: wired.com