The dress that’s gone viral

Posted By: Jenn Schanz 

It all started with a dress.

A woman posted a picture of it on her Tumblr page.

When it was worn to a wedding, she was certain it was blue and black; but after snapping a photo of it later, she thought it looked white and gold. 

And she’s not the only one.

It’s been a big debate. So which is it?

The picture went viral; it’s been viewed more than 20 million times world wide.

I asked folks here in Lincoln to weigh in.

“It looks white and gold to me,” says UNL student Brooke Stelly. 

“I definitely saw white and gold,” says Natalie Frederick of Lincoln.

“It was black and blue actually,” thinks Garrett Hall, a UNL student. 

I spoke to Dr. Brian Brightman, an optometrist, to see what science could be at play.

“The best term to describe it is called color constancy. Our brain will interpret a color based on its surroundings,” Brightman says.

So here’s what could have happened: the background lighting may have changed from when the dress was worn at the wedding, shifting how our rods and cones understand it’s shades; a sort of self auto–correct.

Dr. Brightman says difference in color constancy is happening to us all the time, most likely we just don’t take the time to think about it. He says it all has to do with how we organize different shades of colors. and most of that happens in the brain, not in the eyes.

“If you’re seeing it as white, it’s your brain telling you that based on the colors around it that it’s white. But really, they’ve found it was slightly blue in color,” he says. 

But perhaps an even bigger shock than the color–changing gown?

How crazy the world has gone over it!

“It took off so fast. I’ve never seen something take over the internet so quickly before,” Stelly says.

“It is really, really ridiculous,” says Hall.

The whole fiasco hasn’t been bad for the dress’s maker, located in the United Kingdom; sales for it have gone up almost 350 percent.