Stargazing

One researcher’s interesting conclusion behind #thedress debate

This dress created quite a stir on social media earlier this year.
This dress created quite a stir on social media earlier this year. Twitter

Are you a night owl, or an early riser? A female or a member of the older generation?

According to a recent study by Bevil Conway, a researcher at Wellesley College and MIT, those factors could play into how you saw “The Dress.”

You know the one we’re talking about: The Dress that had Kim and Kanye at odds and spurred debates on Twitter and Instagram nationwide.

It turns out whether you saw it as black and blue or white and gold could depend on your sleeping patterns, your age or gender.

In his research, Conway asked 1,400 people to desccribe the dress. Of the people he asked, 57 percent said it had blue and black stripes, while 30 percent saw white and gold. Ten percent saw blue and brown, and the remaining percent saw a combination.

Conway noticed a pattern in the responses he collected — women and older people were more likely to see the dress as white and gold.

According to his research, “people who stay up later have more experience of artificial lighting which has more reddish light in it. Their brains may then be accustomed to correcting from reddish illumination. Take these colours out of the dress image, and it appears blue and black.”

On the flip side, Conway says, people awake in daylight hours are exposed to more natural light, which contains more blue hues. Conway’s research suggests that if “the brain assumed the dress was illuminated by natural sunlight, and corrected for blueish illumination, the colors appear white and gold.”

To see a clearer picture of how the light affects the colors of the dress, watch below:

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