I See White And Gold, But I Admit I’m Wrong

Like everyone else in the world, I’ve spent today trying to figure out what color this dress is. Some people think it’s blue and black, others see white and gold. Having asked people around me – without giving them context or choices – I can assure you it’s not a trick. People really do see different colors, and those around me are splitting about 75% White/Gold to 25% Black/Blue, just like BuzzFeed quiz responders.

I see white and gold. But I have very good reason to believe my brain is tricking me. Why? Here’s what the original image looks like:

Photo Feb 27, 09 20 05

And here’s what it looks like with the colors inverted:

Photo Feb 27, 09 20 05

While people differ on the color of the original, everyone sees the inverted version as white and gold. Which both damns my original White/Gold perception and offers an explanation for it.

Damns it because the opposite of white is, of course, black. And the opposite of the royal blue other people report seeing is the light gold we see above, as this juxtaposition of opposite colors shows:


So it seems obvious that the true colors of the dress are blue and black, as other pictures show.

It explains it because those of us who see White/Gold are seeing the opposites of the true colors, Black/Blue, but switched around. I reckon our brains are perceiving the Black/Blue dress as being in shadow (or something) and simply making a color correction that we don’t need to make. (I don’t know how we’re then switching the two colors.) People who see Black/Blue aren’t making the same (mis)correction. Anyway, it’s an interesting insight into the degree to which what we see is what our brains decide to show us.

(P.S. The dress is way better in white and gold. That is not subjective.)

(P.P.S. “What Colors Are This Dress?” Seriously? Seek the subject, my friends.)

UPDATE: It’s blue and black for me now and I can’t get it back. The good news is I now believe the people who say it’s changing for them.