CARO Weighs in on that Dress

Posted on March 6, 2015

Last week we were entertained by the dress below that had its 15 minutes of fame as some people see a blue and black dress and others see a white and gold dress.   If you haven’t heard about it search #dressgate on the internet.

blackbluedressDifferent pictures of it were everywhere and some people saw different colours based on which pictures they saw.  Great scientific explanations have been done already a couple of which I have linked to here.  What we really saw was how the internet collectively discovered a new visual illusion.  The gist is that we are seeing a visual illusion similar to the image below, where both the A and B squares are the same shade of grey (trust us, they are, no joke):




To add to the body of analysis of this dress, we thought we would share the results of a small sample size study that we did.  CARO is all about producing reliable results (mostly analytical chemistry results) and we thought it would be fun to share them.  We showed the same picture of the dress above to a random sample of people all within the same timeframe and the picture was presented the same way.  We asked 16 females and 9 males what dress colours do they see.  12 people, 7 females and 5 males saw a blue and black dress.  12 people, 9 females and 3 males saw a white and gold dress. 1 male saw both colours i.e. it was flipping between both colours for him and he couldn’t commit to one set of colours, which we would qualify as an outlier.  We also tracked eye colour and whether people are morning or night people to see if it correlated to their responses and found the following data.  Of the people who saw a white and gold dress, 6 had blue or blue shade eyes, 5 had brown or brown shade eyes and 1 had green eyes.  Of the people who saw a blue and black dress, 4 had blue eyes, 6 had brown eyes and 2 had green eyes.  Of the people who saw a blue and black dress 5 were morning people and 4 were night people.  Of the people who saw a white and gold dress 4 were morning people and 2 were night people.  From the data set above, we will let you draw your own conclusions.

Last week we heard a lot of anecdotal information with a lot of speculation and uncertainty.  By gathering accurate data, using controlled parameters, and standard analysis, we can contribute meaningful data, better understand problems and hopefully more clearly understand the world around us.  Everyday we generate thousands of pieces of data points to help people with their analytical problems.  Please contact us anytime if you would like to discuss your analytical chemistry project.


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