What color is this dress?! Viral photo driving the Internet bonkers!

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(WITI) -- There's a fierce debate taking over the Internet -- and if you haven't heard about "the dress," you probably will soon.

Tumblr user swiked uploaded a photo of a dress on Wednesday, February 25th and asked:

"Guys please help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree..."

The image quickly went viral with some saying the dress is blue and black while others insist it's white and gold. But how can this be?

Many have theorized the cones and rods in our eyes cause some people to see blue and black while others will see white and gold. But the jury is still out on the official explanation.

Roman Women's Lace Detail Bodycon Dress Royal Blue (Amazon)

Roman Women's Lace Detail Bodycon Dress Royal Blue (Amazon)

The dress can be found on Amazon and is listed as "royal blue," which likely proves the over exposure of the viral image is what's causing the disagreement.

The dress currently has two reviews on Amazon, but this review likely sums up the Internet's frustration:

"This dress made me lose all of my friends and now I am so lonely."

Now let's settle this:

The following message has been issued as an unofficial explanation for the confusion over the color of this dress:

"Your eyes have retinas, the things that let you interpret color. There's rods (round things) and cones (that stick out) -- which is what gives your eye a textured appearance in the colored part. The "cones" see color. The "rods" see shade, like black, white and grey.

Cones only work when enough light passes through, so while some may see the fabric as white, someone else may see it as blue.

There are three cones - small, medium and large. They are blue sensitive, green sensitive and red sensitive.

As for the black bit, it's called additive mixing. Blue, green and red are the main colors for additive mixing. This is where it gets really tricky. Subtractive mixing, such as with paint, means the more colors you add, the murkier it gets until it's black. ADDITIVE mixing, when you add the three colors eyes see best - red, green and blue (not to be confused with primary colors red, blue and yellow) it makes pure white.

See a blue and black dress?: Your retina's cones are more high functioning, and this results in your eyes doing subtractive mixing.

See a white and gold dress?: Our eyes don't work well in dim light so our retinas rods see white, and this makes them less light sensitive, causing additive mixing (that of green and red) to make gold."

The science behind why no one agrees on the color of this dress -- via Wired.com.

9 comments

    • maria

      3 days old, huh? Retty amazing since the original post is a little over 24 hours old. I think the real story isnt the dress, but the viral effect. I have NEVER seen anything go so viral. It even affected sites like reddit and imgur, which are usually less influenced.

  • Michael

    I like the explanation except for one small thing: Red, Blue and Yellow are not the primary colours! Red, Blue and Green are the primary colours in additive mixing, and Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are the primary colours in Subtractive mixing! It really annoys me that people still don’t know this!

  • lolsmack

    This is only viral because social media thrives when people argue. The color of the dress is well known but people will argue against it anyways for whatever dumb reason. This just shows how ridiculous our society is becoming. A bunch of incompetent tools arguing over nothing.

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