ATTN: THE DRESS IS WHITE & GOLD

Yesterday the Internet had a meltdown over this very serious question: Is this dress white and gold, or blue and black?

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If you answered blue and black, call your ophthalmologist and schedule an appointment to get your eyes checked. It is a white dress with gold lace fringe. Final answer. You are wrong. Argument over. Or so I thought…

I spent half of yesterday debating the true colors of the dress with my roommate, friends, family and coworkers. The fight even took to social media—people voiced their opinions over Facebook and Instagram and #TheDress started trending on Twitter. I honestly don’t understand how so many people could see this dress as blue and black. I thought it was some sort of sick prank. So I did some research. And I found out that the dress was actually blue and black. But…how? I was baffled. I tried so hard to understand why the only colors I saw were white and gold. I squinted my eyes, held the image close to my face, then held it far away, stared at it for an excessive amount of time, blurred my vision, rapidly blinked my eyes, scrolled past the image quickly and changed the brightness on my phone. But no matter what I did I still saw white and gold.

I started wondering: Is something wrong with my eyes? Why do different people perceive different colors? What if I’ve been mistaking blue for white and black for gold my whole life? I needed someone to explain to me the science behind this phenomenon. This Wired article explains the physiology behind light wavelengths and color perception in our visual systems. Even with neuroscientist Jay Neitz’s explanation, I still don’t get it.

At the end of the day, the dress is still white and blue in my mind. I don’t care if I’m “wrong.” And as frustrating as this debate has been for me, I was still able to take something away from it. I learned that if something as trivial as an argument over color can go viral (and cause a product to sell out in 10 minutes), then we all have the potential to create content that goes viral. You just have to post it at the right social media site at the right time and have the right people spread your content across the Internet.

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