White and gold or blue and black? The dress has confused the internet but science has the answer

Most people see the dress as either blue and black or gold and white

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The Independent Online

The internet has been divided into two warring tribes by a picture of a dress functioning as an accidental colour perception experiment.

#TheDress, as it has become known, was spotted by a blogger who turned to Tumblr for help when the garment started an argument among her friends.

“Guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f*** out,” Swiked wrote.

Update: An eyewitness who saw the dress speaks

Buzzfeed picked up the post and the freaking out has spread worldwide as the #blackandblue team failed to understand how the #whiteandgold team were looking at the same photo.

The dress can be seen in different colours

Even celebrities waded into the argument – a “confused and scared” Taylor Swift is firmly on the blue and black team, Anna Kendrick believes the opposite and Kimye can’t agree. A straw poll of The Independent’s office came out on the blue and black side although it was a close call – and pretty heated.

Essentially we are all individually wired to see the dress in different colours and squinting, changing brightness and switching computers will do nothing to help you.

As Wired helpfully explains, different wavelengths of light that correspond to different colours enter our eye through the lens and hit the retina, where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, allowing the brain to form those signals into an image.

Our brain intuitively filters out backgrounds and lighting in order to see the “true” colour of an object but the bluish tint of the photo is affecting that ability.

“What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist, told Wired.

“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.”