Seeing is not believing…


The squares marked A and B are the same shade of gray.
Credit: © 1995, Edward H. Adelson

Is ‘the dress’ white and gold or blue and black? That was the question when I was shown a photo of a dress last weekend on a smart phone. Whoa wow wow is the Tumblir account that posted the infamous dress photo if you haven’t seen it. I saw it as white and gold. Others in the room vehemently disagreed.

Seeing is not believing. Our minds have control over our perceptions of reality in spite of what our eyes are actually seeing. The above illustration documents this wonderfully. If you don’t believe it, go into your computer’s application utility folder and look for the digital color reader. This app reads the color on your screen where the pointer is. You can read the color at both points. On my screen both of the squares are: r: 121, g: 120, b: 121. My eyes don’t agree.

An interesting thing happened as I wrote this post, I had the “dress” photo on an open tab. When I first saw this, I again saw the dress as white and gold. As I finished this post I glanced at the photo again and suddenly saw the dress as blue and black. My perceptions had shifted with apparently no help from my conscious mind. Color is an idea.

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