Why Does The Dress Look White And Gold To Me? Here's the Science Behind the Dress

After staring at this dress for a good hour, I don't know what to believe anymore. Why does the dress look white and gold to me? The internet is telling me black and blue, but my eyes are seeing white and gold. Is it poor lighting or just plain Jedi mind tricks? Look, I'm trying really hard to understand why people see blue, but it's just not happening. People are crying, relationships are being destroyed, and everyone is questioning their emotional stability. I'm not about to let the dress ruin both my personal life and mental capacity. So let me act as Switzerland in this situation, and try to be as neutral as I can be by using hard cold evidence to tell you (and settle for myself) about what's really going on. Let's use science people. We can always rely on science.

First thing's first, however — according to Roman, the UK retailer responsible for the magic dress, the garment is categorized as "Royal Blue." So, for all the confused people like me only seeing white and gold, we are totally wrong. And here's why we think we're right: according to USA Today, Arthur Shapiro, a professor specializing in visual perception at American University, explains, "Color is our perception — our interpretation of the light that's in the world." He continues by saying "Individual wavelengths don't have color, it's how our brains interpret the wavelengths that create color."

And if you're still confused, he elaborates, "In reality, it's light coming off of the computer screen, and then our brain interprets it and those interpretations can differ." OK, so I'm not going crazy. Excellent.

Wired also got the low-down from Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist studying color and vision at Wellesley College. He explains, "What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis." In simpler terms, your brain and eyesight will either "discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black."

So, basically we've been debating the wrong thing this entire time. It's not the dress that we should be arguing about, it's our failure to understand that everyone will see things in a different light, literally and figuratively speaking. All in all, our brains will perceive what it wants to perceive. Case closed. We are all right and we are all wrong, so go save those relationships while you still can.

I think the real winner here today is the Internet. I've never felt more connected and engaged with all of you. Congratulations, people of the Interwebs, we just got through our first fight over modern photography from a picture that was probably taken off of an iPhone.

Image: swiked/Tumblr