Social Question

syz's avatar

Is this some sort of internet-wide hoax?

Asked by syz (35649points) February 26th, 2015

I assume you’ve seen the dress color controversy by now. I don’t get it. What’s happening here?

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41 Answers

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Load of hogwash is what is happening!

funkdaddy's avatar

Stare at the “black” and the dress becomes blue.

Stare at the “white” and the other is gold.

at least for me

syz's avatar

I’m so puzzled. Someone that I worked with posted the question (blue or gold) on Facebook and it was unquestionable gold. Repeatedly. Now, an hour later, that same post appears blue to me.

DominicY's avatar

It’s not a hoax, apparently. Just a photo that happened to go viral. To me it’s clearly white and gold and I can see the white as pale blue or periwinkle, but I have no clue where people are getting “black” from. Some people swear by the black and blue, others wear by the white and gold. And some people claim it changes.

Maybe this article will explain it better:

Look at the GIF at the bottom of the article too.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

My best friend sent me this earlier, but I just found out that the image she was sent wasn’t the original photo that was posted. The one she was sent, and the one she sent me, was the white-balanced version of the image. Based on that one, I said it was white and gold. But once I realized that I hadn’t seen the original image (which is the dress in the middle in the link @DominicY just posted), my answer would definitely have been blue and black. Based on the image in the middle, I can’t see how anyone would think it was white and gold.

So, in this case, it might be that so many people disagree simply because they were sent a modified image (like my best friend was, and then me), instead of the original.

DominicY's avatar

Even the image in the middle looks totally white and gold to me (well, periwinkle and gold, really). To me, the images on the left and middle are almost the same, whereas the one on the right looks really different. That seems to fit in line with thinking it looks white and gold, whereas someone who thinks it’s black and blue would probably think the image on the left looks the most “off”.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@DominicY Interesting! :) So, if the science is right and it has something to do with how well people take in light, that should mean that most people who see the original image don’t have good night vision. I think, anyway? How is your night vision? I see the middle as a definite blue and black, and my night vision is really good.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I meant to say ”... that should mean that most people who see the original image as white and gold don’t have good night vision.”

Also, I found this, which seems to confirm that the dress is, indeed, blue and black.

DominicY's avatar

I usually think of my night vision as being pretty good, but I don’t know, maybe I’m slightly colorblind. :P I’ve seen the photos of the actual dress and while I believe it, the photo of the actual dress and the viral image could not be more different to me haha.

Maybe it runs in families? Showed my sister and brother and they both swear it’s white and gold. Showed it to my friend and his girlfriend they both said it was obviously blue and black. So who knows :P

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yeah, who knows. lol I do agree that the original image posted online is much, much different than what the dress looks like on Amazon, though.

ucme's avatar

You’re wrong to assume, i’ve never seen/heard about this & your link is crap, no picture at my end.
Anyway, to the question, is it a hoax? I think I don’t care.

ragingloli's avatar

It is gold and violet (136,152,186). The latter probably due to ambient atmospheric lighting.
Compensating for that, it is gold and white. Just open it up in ms paint and check the colours.

Berserker's avatar

I’m confused as well. I wake up and this is all over the internet. There was a time where I considered myself knowledgeable in online memes, but this one is totally escaping me. It’s not the whole color issue, what confuses me is the nature of the situation and how/why it’s a thing. What’s going on? O_o

elbanditoroso's avatar

Too many people with too little to do.

jca's avatar

To me, it’s so stupid. I can imagine people all over arguing about it. It’s an ugly dress anyway. Who cares?

Stinley's avatar

The actual dress has been re-photographed and it is royal blue and black.

The original camera captured the colours wrong due to the ambient light. It’s a well known phenomenon. Photoshop can correct this or, if required, make this happen. It is interesting how our brains can be tricked though

syz's avatar

@Stinley Yes, I understand that the photo was overexposed or adjusted. But that doesn’t explain why different people looking at the same image see different colors.

Stinley's avatar

The Wired expert Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College, says “So people 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.”

The other expert Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington says “But I’ve studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.”

Whatever colours you see the difference between us is really interesting

syz's avatar

This article says it’s an optical illusion based on visual persistence.

ragingloli's avatar

Just open it in photoshop and grab the colours with a pipette.
It is not an optical illusion, the thing is white and gold.
And i bet that blue and black version is a different dress altogether.

janbb's avatar

I have to say the comment in the link, “This is really important because it’s driving me crazy” kind of summarizes most of what’s wrong in the world today.

But speaking to the issue, I see pale blue and gold. That doesn’t mean that’s what it is, it’s just what I see.

I guess this is one of the problems with online shopping.

Stinley's avatar

The colours in the picture are gold and blue. The dress is royal blue and black. Cameras can take pictures which capture the colours incorrectly.

rojo's avatar

OMG! I cannot believe that half of the people out there are sooooo stupid or color blind or both!!! The colors are obvious!

It made the morning news.

So sad.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

#TheDress—Blue/Black, White/Gold… Sales are Through the Roof!!!

Silence04's avatar

The photo is actually overexposed and has a warm/yellowish hue (read: not a cool/bluish hue). Once this is truely realized, the brain will basically filter out those attributes that make it appear as white/gold and perceive the actual colors of the dress, black/blue.

Mariah's avatar

The pixels are gold and gray, so if you see the photo very literally, you might think it is a white and gold dress. I certainly did at first.

The dress is actually blue and black. Look at the background of the photo. It is very overexposed and very yellow. The photo was just taken under awful lighting conditions, and the shiny-ish material of the dress, which is reflecting that yellowish light, makes it worse. Those whose brains are good at automatically correcting for the lighting conditions will see the dress as blue and black.

This is the best I could do with color correction. Clearly blue and black. After looking at that image, look back at the original and it might pop out at you.

dxs's avatar

When I first saw this dress, my screen was set to invert the colors. So, I saw white and gold. The opposite of those colors are obviously black and blue, but to my surprise, reverting the colors yielded white and gold as well, but in opposite positions (where the gold was, the white now was).
If this dress were truly white and gold, I would have initially seen black and blue.

janbb's avatar

This article casts an interesting angle on this seemingly frivolous internet buzz. Worth a read.

fluthernutter's avatar

I think this whole phenomenon is a great example of how different brains approach a seemingly straightforward task.

This is how I take this:

Their brains are asking “What wavelengths are hitting my retina?” I think the literal color of the pixels on the screen (as supported by @ragingloli example using Photoshop) are gold and blue.

Their brains are asking “What wavelengths are hitting my retina and what does this mean?” I would bet that most people in this camp can see the blue/white. But are making the actual decision to adjust to white.

Their brains are asking “What color is this dress?” Their brains take in the overexposed background and adjustments are made on a subconscious level.

To put in relation to photography…
GOLD & BLUE: shooting in RAW
GOLD & WHITE: shooting with some manual settings
BLACK & BLUE: shooting on auto

Especially in relation to what @janbb referenced, it’s incredibly fascinating! Challenges what people think of as matter of fact.

I wonder how the BLACK & BLUE group would respond to the image cropped from its background?

ucme's avatar

Livin would be easy if your colours were like my dreams, red gold & green, red gold & green

fluthernutter's avatar


If I look at the whole image, I see gold and white. But if I’m only looking at the bottom half, I see black and blue.

Try covering up part of the image. Does it change for you too?

livelaughlove21's avatar

It’s clearly blue and black and anyone that sees anything else is simply wrong. Period.

It’s also hideous.

flutherother's avatar

The dress is blue and a kind of shabby gold, clearly and consistently. I would agree it is hideous.
In this picture are A and B the same colour?

dxs's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Colors are defined by how people perceive them, so it’s impossible for someone to be wrong.

osoraro's avatar

It’s all a matter of white balance settings.

jca's avatar

It’s all over the internet and the news. I can’t imagine spending more than 30 seconds thinking about it.

Esedess's avatar

I don’t get it either… The picture of the dress when its white and gold looks white and gold, and the picture of the dress when it’s back and blue looks black and blue. The colors of the dress in any one picture always remain the same to me. Personally, it’s equivalent to holding up a blue color card and asking, “is it blue or white?” Blue. Then someone grabs a white color card and asks, “but what about now!?” Well, it’s a different fucking color card now isn’t it, so white, duh… IDK.

Coloma's avatar

My daughter and I both saw white with gold trim but her BF saw black & blue. Clearly he is insane. haha

dxs's avatar

This still confuses me. I’m so amazed at how differently people see it.
Black and blue? Really?! Are you conspiring against me to get me to go crazy?

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