The day after a viral BuzzFeed post asked about the color of a certain striped cocktail dress, neuroscientist Pascal Wallisch pulled up the infamous photo on his laptop and showed it to his wife.
It’s obviously black and blue,’” Wallisch, a clinical assistant professor of psychology at New York University, told BuzzFeed News.
This research has coalesced on an intriguing explanation: The color you see on the dress depends on the unconscious assumptions your brain makes about the light shining on it.
No one knows exactly, but Wallisch provides one answer in a study published earlier this year.
This makes sense, he says, because people who wake up early are, over their lifetimes, exposed to more blue light (from the sky) than are people who tend to stay up into the night, surrounded by artificial yellow light.

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