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The Dress

So apparently the most controversial thing to ever happen is this dress that no one can agree what color it is, and the illusion is so strong that some narrowminded actually think it's a hoax perpetuated by half the population.

The science behind the illusion isn't really that controversial. Some people's visual systems see it (incorrectly) as a white-colored dress in shadow; other people's visual systems see it (correctly) as a blue dress in the light. It's a well-known effect called color constancy, and you can see a bunch of relatively innocuous examples of it on the Internet.

What's interesting about this illusion (to me) is just how little context is needed to get the illusion for some people, including myself sometimes. There is a narrow strip of overexposed background on the upper-right corner, and that is apparently enough to cause our brains to think the dress is in shadow. So I wondered whether an object in the foreground, say another dress, that was clearly in the light, could thwart the illusion.

People who only see the dress as gold and white: how do you see this image? I did nothing at all to the color of the original dress; I only added the red dress in front of it (and a little drop shadow).

http://www.aerojockey.com/clips/dress-with-context.jpg

I sometimes see the original image as white and gold, but never this one. For me the dress is always blue and black in this image.

Tags: color_constancy, dress, optical_illusion
Permalink: http://blog.aerojockey.com/post/thedress
Last Edited: 2 March 2015, 12:17 AM
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