The image of the 'blue and black or
white and gold dress'
that went viral this year split
friends and families over the colour of its stripes. Now scientists
have found it may look different to early risers and night



Waldkauz -Strix _aluco


image: Wikipedia


Bevil Conway, a researcher at Wellesley College and
MIT, asked 1400 people, 300 of whom had never seen the picture
before, to describe the dress. Overall, 57% said it had blue and
black stripes, 30% saw white and gold stripes, and another 10% saw
blue and brown. About 10% could switch between either colour


But among the responses, Conway saw another pattern.
Women and older people were more likely to see the dress as white
and gold, while the same group are more likely to be larks, being
awake in sunlight hours, rather than owls, who were awake more at
night time.


He speculates that 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.


Conversely, people who are awake in daylight hours
are exposed to more natural light, which contains more blueish
light than artificial light. If the brain assumed the dress was
illuminated by more natural sunlight, and corrected for blueish
illumination, the colours appear more white and gold.


Whether you are an early riser or night owl, find
helpful sleep tips in our Sleep toolkit