What Color is #TheDress?! via bSmartGuide

This post originally appeared on the bSmart Guide.
‘From now on there will be two types of people: White and Gold or Blue and Black’ – Ellen Degeneres
We learned the true power of the Internet Thursday when a few llamas crossing a road united us, and the color of a dress divided us.  It all began when a woman took to Tumblr the day before to ask a simple question: What color is this dress?  She even posted a picture of herself wearing ‘the same dress’ (to my knowledge, this has not been proven to be the same dress), in which the dress looks blue and black.  It did not take long for this post to ignite a flame that almost burnt out the Internet.
I personally find this question odd.  Normally, I would ask what the color the dress is if I was deciding between similar shades, such as white and cream or black and navy.  Not white and gold and blue and black.  I have found this great debate to be extremely interesting.  Perhaps the Millennial Generation relies too heavily on social media sites such as Twitter for their daily source of news.  Or maybe Twitter is just another outlet for the ‘know it alls’ of the world to prove that they are indeed right and that the dress is white and gold (or blue and black).
Like any other juicy hot topic, there is more than one side to the story.  In this case, there are multiple theories behind what color the striped dress is.  #BlueandBlack and #WhiteandGold have been circulating around the Twittersphere as well as the World Wide Web.  The controversy has appeared on a few major news sites such as Buzzfeed.  When it came to deciding the true color of this striped dress, I turned into one of those annoying ‘know it alls’ you find on Twitter.  I had to figure out why I only saw the dress as white and gold.  But more importantly, I had to know if I was right or wrong.  I channeled the inner young Millennial in me and took to the Internet to conduct some research.
It did not take long for this post to ignite a flame that almost burnt out the internet.
Here are the most popular theories that I found:
1) There are two different dresses in two different color combinations.  One dress is blue and black, one dress is white and gold.  This article has both versions of the dress, whereas on Twitter, I have only seen the dress hanging up.
2) The color of this dress is a social experiment (WOW! Never would have guessed).  When you have a negative thought or are going through a negative experience, you see blue and black.  If you think the dress is white and gold, you are an optimistic thinker.  Now, that makes some sense, doesn’t it?
3) There is one picture of a white and gold dress with a LED light placed behind it.  Supposedly this is why the dress appears black and blue to some.  I could see where this theory could be true.  From prior experiences, wearing white to a black light party makes my shirt appear a shade of blue/purple.
4) If you see white and gold your brightness is turned all the way up.  If you see blue and black your brightness is on the lowest setting.  Or maybe you’re just holding your phone too far or too close to your face.  (I have proven this theory to be false. No matter the brightness on my phone or how far it is from my eyes, I still see a white and gold dress.)
5) If you see blue and black, the retina’s in your eyes are more high functioning, resulting in your eyes doing more subtractive mixing.  If you see white and gold, your eyes do not work as well in dim lighting.  This causes your retina rods to see white, making them less light sensitive and resulting in additive mixing (that of the colors green and red) to create the color gold.
After I collected all the theories on the color of this silly dress, I was still stumped.  Then it hit me!  My father has been an optometrist for over 40 years… aka a living and breathing encyclopedia of an eye.
I showed the picture to my father and asked him the now very popular question of ‘What color is this dress?’  Needless to say, he was #TeamBlueAndBlack.  I proceeded to tell him that he was wrong and the dress was white and gold.  He had no idea that this was a hot topic on social media, and after a good attempt of explaining to him what was going on, I gave up and allowed him to explain why we were seeing different color combinations of this striped dress.  Though I can not tell you with certainty that there is not two different pictures of two different colored dresses floating around the Internet, I can tell you that if there is only one picture of the dress – theory five is why we are seeing both white and gold and blue and black.
The retinas in your eyes allow you to interpret color and are made up of rods and cones.  The rods see shades, such as black, white and grey.  The cones see color and can only properly function when enough light pass through your eye.  In the case of this dress, what one person may see as white, another may see as blue because the cones in their eyes are not responding to the dim lighting in the viral picture.  In your eye, there are three cones: small, medium, and large.  The cones are blue sensitive, green sensitive, and red sensitive.  The black part of the dress can be explained through additive mixing.  Subtractive mixing is where your eye sees multiple colors at once, making the object appear black.  Additive mixing is where you add the three colors your eye sees best together: red, green, and blue, to get white.
Since I am one of those ‘I need Internet proof’ kind of people, my father suggested I look up the term ‘physiological optical.’  Needless to say I found my Internet proof to back up his claim.
What theory do you believe?
Side note: If this is the first you have heard about this wildly popular debate, I suggest you crawl out from under that rock and join the 21st century.
Regardless of the dress, remember to keep things covered up!

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