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Blue and Black or White and gold? Scientists explain why #TheDress divided the Internet

#TheDress was one of Internet's greatest viral obsessions this year

By: Express Web Desk | Published: May 17, 2015 12:36:30 pm
#TheDress, The Dress, Viral dress, The Dress that went viral, White and gold, Black and blue, Scientists, Bevin Conway, Research on Dress, Social Media #TheDress that went viral on the Internet. (Source: Caitlin McNeill’s blog)

#TheDress was one of Internet’s greatest viral obsessions this year. If you don’t remember, here’s a quick recap. In February, 21-year-old singer named Caitlin McNeill had posted a picture on her blog of a dress that caused a deep divide among her friends. The dilemma: was the dress blue and black or white and gold?

Pretty soon #thedress had gone viral and even celebrities like Taylor Swift has jumped in trying to decode the colour. The correct colour was blue and black, but the fact was that people saw two different colour sets: white and gold or black and blue.

Depending on what you saw, you were either in TeamBlueandBlack or TeamWhiteandGold, according to the Twitter trends at the time.

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Now, scientists have finally explained why people saw two different colours when it came to the dress. According to a report in the Guardian US researchers led by neuroscientist Dr Bevil Conway, who teaches at both Wellesley College and MIT, have an answer. The study appears in Current Biology magazine. According to the study, those who saw white and gold were more used to daylight, while the team black and blue was accustomed to late night.

The report, says that over 1400 people were interviewed as part of the research, out of whom 300 had not seen the picture before. While 57 percent saw Black and Blue, 30 percent saw white and gold and another 10 percent saw blue and brown and 10 percent were switching between the various colour combinations.

Researchers also noticed a pattern among the answers as “women and older people were more likely to see the dress The study says that this group more likely to be up during the day aka sunlight hours.

So how does this affect the colour perception?

According to Conway’s hypothesis, those up in the night are used to “artificial lighting which has more reddish light in it,” and thus their brains are “accustomed to correcting from reddish illumination,” which shows the dress as black and blue, while those who are more exposed to working in sunlight/daytime would see gold and white because their brain processes out the blueish light.

According to a Telegraph report, the study says that “those who saw white and gold stripes may spend more time outdoors and therefore be more used to natural daylight.”

#TheDress is actually black and blue in colour as was revealed soon after it went viral. The Dress is from British clothing company Roman Originals and is available here.

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