NYU Neuroscientist Finds Real Answer On 'The Dress' Meme RiddleBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
New York University neuroscientist Pascal Wallisch has found the real answer behind the differences in opinion on the color of "The Dress." The dress, which went viral back in 2015, was worn by the mother of a bride at a wedding in Scotland.
Millions of people were divided with the colors of "The Dress." Some saw it has gold and white while some saw it as black and blue.
Wallisch concluded that the differences in perception were caused by people's assumptions about how the dress was illuminated. MedicalXpress reported that those who thought that the dress was photographed in a shadow may have seen it as gold and white. Those who thought that it was illuminated by artificial light were more likely to perceive the garment as black and blue.
The NYU neuroscientist said that the original image was overexposed, which rendered the illumination source uncertain. Because of this, people made assumptions about how the dress was illuminated and thus affecting the colors that were seen.
Apparently, those who thought that the dress was photographed in a shadow mentally subtracted the blue light to view the image, which appears to be in gold and white. Artificial light, on the other hand, typically is yellowish so those who viewed it with this assumption factored out the color and saw black and blue.
The findings were collected on an online study with over 13,000 participants. The study was published in the "Journal of Vision."
BuzzFeed News noted that Wallisch also found early risers to be more inclined to see the dress in gold and white. In contrast, night owls were more likely to perceive it as black and blue.
This is because people who wake up early are exposed to more blue light from the sky than those who stay up late at night, who are surrounded by artificial yellow light. Christoph Witzel, a vision scientist at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen in Germany, said that the findings were interesting since it reveals how colors can influence beliefs.