It’s not every day that fashion and science come together to polarise the world.
Tumblr blogger Caitlin posted a photograph of what is now known as #TheDress – a layered lace dress and jacket that was causing much distress among her friends. The distress spread rapidly across social media, with Taylor Swift admitting she was “confused and scared”.
I don’t understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it’s a trick somehow.
I’m confused and scared.
PS it’s OBVIOUSLY BLUE AND BLACK
The internet is now made up by people firmly in two camps: the white and gold, and the blue and black – with each thinking the other is completely wrong.
But Ron Chrisley, director of the Centre for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, believes that the problem mainly lies in the fact that everyone has forgotten we are dealing with an illusion.
Chrisley said: “The first step in reaching a truce in the dress war is to construct a demonstration that can show to the white-and-gold crowd how the very same dress can also look blue and black under different conditions.”
The image below, tweeted by @namin3485, demonstrates that even though the right-hand side of each image is the same, in the context of the two different left halves, the right is interpreted as being either white and gold, or blue and black.
So does this mean people who are less self-confident are more likely to be able to see both, at least eventually?
Chrisley said: “My guess is it’s not to do with self-confidence. It’s a perceptual issue. I could imagine someone that’s open minded could still see it only one way. This is below the level of us trying to understand other peoples views. It’s more physiological than that.”
Look at the image below. The colour of surfaces A and B are identical. Place your finger over the join where the top and bottom half of the image meet.
Surfaces A and B are the same colour. Photograph: brainden.com
Both surfaces are grey, right? But how?! Why?!
Chrisley said: “Which colour we see isn’t just a matter of the light coming into eyes, it’s the inferences that caused that input. We use the context to inform our colour experiences.
“Some suffer more than others due to how people factor in context in order to construct a colour experience. Some people see just what’s in front of them and some people are affected much more by the context.
“This has yet to be proven, but given what we know of the brain, and it’s a good guess, is that someone who is used to manipulating images and white balance might be able to perceive the true dress colour in a wider range of contexts and ignore context, whereas others can be easily manipulated. People who have changed luminance in Photoshop may not be fooled by it.”
Take the following colour illusion. Squares A, B and C appear to be different shades of brown. Cover the surrounding squares and you’ll see they are in fact the same colour.
Squares A, B and C are the same colour. Photograph: brainden.com
Chrisley said: “Another striking thing about the dress illusion is that it is quite unlike the checked shadow illusion, in that not all people experience it, and those that do often do so differently.
“It is as if there is a perceptual equivalent of those who can roll their tongues and those who can’t. But it is too early to say whether the difference is genetic, as with tongue rolling ability, or something affected by learning and personality such as being a night-owl or one’s particular sensitivity to context in perception, as I and fellow Sackler colleague Acer Chang speculate.”
Here’s the science behind #TheDress colour illusion
You may have gathered this by now, but what we are experiencing is really a colour illusion. Colour illusions are images where the object’s surrounding colours trick the eye into incorrectly interpreting the colour.
What’s happening with #TheDress is that your eye is either discounting the blue so you’re seeing white and gold, or discounting the gold so your eye sees blue and black. But why would your eyes lie to you like this?
Human beings evolved to see in daylight, but daylight changes the colour of everything we see. Human eyes try to compensate for the chromatic bias of daylight colour.
We see objects because light is reflected. When we look at something, light enters the eye with different wavelengths which correspond to different colours. This light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments shoot signals to the part of the brain that processes these signals into an image.
Your brain figures out what colour light is bouncing off the object your eyes are looking at by subtracting that colour from the real colour of the object.
Speaking to Wired magazine, Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies colour and vision at Wellesley College in Massachusetts said: “Most people will see the blue on the white background as blue. But on the black background, some might see it as white.”
Here, I’ve collated the number of flags in backdrops to prime ministerial announcements posted to Tony Abbott’s YouTube channel, with the addition of his election night acceptance speech and the recent six and eight flag announcements:
Some people* have hypothesised that the number of flags in a political announcement can be directly correlated with the importance of the announcement, bringing into being a new political rating system: flagginess.
The appearance of the six– and eight–flag backdrops marks a significant increase in flagginess, and if the trend continues we may well see a 10-flagger before the end of the year.
The increase has prompted comparisons to the US:
And various jokes:
*Yes, ok, by some people I mean me**.
**No, I don’t really believe you can measure the importance of political announcements by the number of flags.
A baby weasel was photographed riding a woodpecker in Essex, UK, and the internet lost its mind.
Amateur photographer Martin Le-May captured the incredible scene after hearing the bird in distress. Unfortunately, it turned out that the baby weasel was trying to kill the woodpecker and hadn’t graciously accepted a free ride.
Luckily the bird escaped unharmed, and the two internet heroes live to fight another day. Speaking to the Standard Le-Ray said: “Quickly the bird gathered its self-respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.
“The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”
Here’s a round-up of the best five #weaselpecker memes.
Sydney jokester and internet personality Dan Nolan has been having fun this week with his new ‘comment is weird’ Tumblr. The blog is an extended parody of headlines on the Guardian’s opinion pages, featuring lots of made-up headlines juxtaposed with photos of real Guardian commentators. The whole thing has caused enough of a stir on social media that Australia’s NT News has put a reporter on the story. So how easy is it to tell the difference between Nolan’s fake headlines and some real headlines from the Guardian’s website?
Private renters in London face soaring costs with the shortage in housing, and a host of other factors, pushing up prices everywhere. Renters find it difficult to get on the ladder and workers are pushed further and further from the centre of the capital.
As the shortage of housing causes prices to spiral out-of-control, unconventional living arrangements emerge. Room-sharing with strangers, for example, is on the rise and increasing numbers of 20-to 45-year-olds are moving back in with their parents.
So what’s your experience of renting in London?
Have you seen your rent go up by exorbitant levels mid contract? Are you one of those who has moved back with your parents because you can’t afford rent?
Perhaps you are one of the many divorcees in their 30s or 40s or key workers who just find it difficult to live in London because of the accommodation expenses.
We want to hear from you. Share your story by filling in the form below. We’ll use a selection in a feature on the London rental crisis.
Not everyone finds themselves jumping in the air on exam results day for an enthusiastic newspaper photographer. While some students receive the grades they want, others will be more than disappointed.
A levels and GCSEs are great markers in our lives, with the former signalling the end of thirteen years of school education. There is a lot to celebrate. But for those of us who don’t make the grades it can be hard to see a way forward.
Grades fell slightly last year, but does this mean that more people will fail to go on to have fulfilling lives? No, it doesn’t. I got an E in textiles. But it all worked out okay in the end.
Did you receive less than desirable GCSE or A Level results? What happened next? We want to hear your positive stories for a feature on the site.
Fill in the form below, or email: email@example.com
Restaurants and bars are allowed to open all over the island as of today. I was expecting many places to be really busy, but this wasn’t the case. It’s been 9 long weeks and apart from the odd takeaway coffee, I finally had coffee in Garajau this morning and it was very quiet with only […]
Though the state government website and branding guidelines were on Thursday still showing the old waratah logo, a spokesman told Guardian Australia that there had been no attempt to conceal the “freshening up of the state brand”.
“Victoria had a huge campaign and a huge launch, costing a huge amount of money. We’re just quietly filtering it through into the different bunting and branding and so on.
“We haven’t made a big deal out of it, but we’re certainly not trying to conceal or hide it.” He agreed that it was something of a “soft launch”.
When asked what “it” was that New South Wales was making happen, the spokesman said it was “just a buzz around the state in terms of economic growth and infrastructure”: “The premier has used the phrase several times this week in media conferences and it feels like we are making it happen.”
The Victorian premier had yet to publicly respond to the new NSW logo as this article was published. Your move, Daniel Andrews.