The Science behind the Dress


If you are breaking a sweat as to what colour this dress is, fear not I have the answer..

The colour of the dress is related to the way our eyes and brains work. The photoreceptors covert light rays into nerve signals which are then processed by nerve cells in the inner retina, sent to the brain, and then translated as images.

The two types of photoreceptor cells are known as rods and cones. Rods are responsible for peripheral and night vision, they detect brightness and shades of grey whilst cones are responsible for day vision and colour perception.

We have three types of cones, each is tuned  to pick up green, red or blue wavelengths of light. When light hits our eyes, the receptors turn these colours into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Our brains determine the colour that we see by blending the signals that each receptor senses.

The lighting of the image, which is a bluish tint, appears to make the blue part look white and the black part looks gold. Some people’s brains are deciding that there is less reflection on a well lit blue and black dress. However, those who see it as white and gold are viewing it as if it is in shadow, but is more reflected. Our individual sensitivity to the blue background lighting of the photo is changing how we see the object in the image.

the dress


Thank you for reading.

One thought on “The Science behind the Dress

  1. Hi-just to say, I found this really interesting, as I wrote a post on the science behind this dress a few days ago! You definitely explained it a lot better than I did 😉

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