What color is that dress after all? Answer: no color

An excellent post by our favorite neurobiologist!

The brain is sooooo cool!

This image clearly shows a dress with stripes. The wavelengths and lighting are unusual in that some perceive the  dress as gold and white (me!!) and others as blue and black. Unlike many "optical illusions," this image is perceived as one color set or the other by most people. In other words, people are unable to switch between the two perceptions. This image clearly shows a dress with stripes. The wavelengths and lighting are unusual in that they are perceived by some as a gold and white dress (me!!) and by others as a blue and black one. Unlike many “optical illusions,” this image is perceived as one color set or the other by most people. In other words, people are unable to switch between the two perceptions.

A few days ago, the world was taken by storm by the is-it-a-gold-and-white-or-a-blue-and-black-dress controversy. There have been several explanations of this phenomenon from several different experts (see for example Wired and NYTimes). As far as I can tell these explanations center on two points:

  • The close cropping of the image prevents a person from globally contextualizing the dress. Is the dress drenched in light and therefore blue and black? Or is it in the shadows and therefore gold and white?
  • The second explanation concerns the local context

View original post 1,247 more words

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