Remember the blue and black (or, for some, white and gold) dress from two years ago?
At the time, I said on this blog,
The picture was 'obviously' light blue and gold - to me. I assumed the people who saw black and blue were somehow processing the white balance in their heads, which is pretty damned clever. It's as though they weren't seeing what color the picture was, but estimating what color the real dress is and reading it back without realizing that's not what was on the monitor. The real dress is, equally obviously, blue and black.But apparently, I couldn't have said that, because nobody knew how color perception worked at that time, at least according to this Slate researcher.
Two Years Later, We Finally Know Why People Saw “The Dress” Differently
Remember “the dress”? It disrupted our understanding of color, and, yes, it took science two years to catch up.
No one had any idea why some people see “the dress” differently than others—we arguably still don’t fully understand it. It was like discovering a new continent.
Two years later we have a much better idea of what may have been a reason for the varied perceptions: People’s perceived color is also informed by their perception of lighting. And the image of the dress, taken on a cellphone, contained a lot of uncertainty in terms of lighting conditions. Was it taken inside or outside? This matters because it implies artificial or natural light. Was the dress illuminated from the front or the back? This matters because if it was back-lit, it would be in a shadow, otherwise not.
I'm glad they cleared that up.