Beware of those who say they “know” what they saw

Yesterday evening, social media exploded and families erupted in argument over the color of a dress in a picture circulating on line.

Here is the picture.
the dress

I’ll admit I first saw the dress as white and gold. After seeing the degree of INSISTENCE of those who swore it was blue and black, I knew something was amiss. Was it a trick picture? An optical illusion? Yes, it was but it was all due to our brains.

When I examined the discussion of how the lighting is affecting our personal perception, the dress suddenly turned to black/blue as if SOMEONE HAD CHANGED THE PICTURE ON ME! It was not subtle. I would not have believed that two people could see such variance in the same picture had I not taken the experiment round to my family and observed us disagreeing while looking at the exact same photo at the same time.

Astounding. And a stark reminder that there is considerable reason to apply skepticism to those that say they “know what they saw” whether that be “Bigfoot” or a ghost or a very anomalous or weird occurrence. Our perception is seriously prone to flaws. No, we don’t know, we accept what we see. Our brain does the interpretation and it’s OFTEN wrong.

See this article on Wired for the explanation on why some people perceived white/gold and others perceived blue/black. This picture of exposure gradient will reveal how our eyes are just lenses but our brain tells the story. Remember this lesson the next time someone insists on what they saw.
dress gradient


2 thoughts on “Beware of those who say they “know” what they saw

  1. Russian Skeptic says:

    Well, if I was to choose between two options (white-gold or blue-black), I would definitely choose white-gold. But if I were asked what I personally saw I would say that the dress is pale lavender and brown. Or perhaps pale blue and brown. I cannot see any black in the picture, despite all my attempts.


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