By AJ Willingham
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — The internet has been victimized by another optical illusion that prods the simple, soft parts of our brains that don’t understand color and pits us against friends and loved ones in a deeply bitter debate.
ARE THESE SHOES TEAL AND GRAY, OR PINK AND WHITE?
My mom says this is pink and white… I see teal and grey. What do you see? pic.twitter.com/1MqlWIGVR4
— Dylan Hawkins (@dylanhawk_) October 13, 2017
Enjoy ruining relationships over this.
A UK woman first posted the image to a Facebook group, insisting the shoes were pink and white and asking for input. She told Metro UK they are her friend’s shoes, and the whole thing started when her friend’s mom saw a photo of the shoes and complimented the “blue” hue.
So yes, they are actually pink and white. Your eyes are liars, perception is a myth, reality a phantasmic invention of the gray goo between your ears.
THE REAL SHOE IS PINK & WHITE OKAY⁉️
The second pic was with flash & darkened, so it looks teal & gray. (depends on what lighting ur in) pic.twitter.com/FlbO3OEEuC
— alisha🎃 (@dolansmalik) October 11, 2017
A Twitter user tried to clarify things by saying the darkness of the original photo skewed the colors, and posted a less contrasting photo for clarification that TOTALLY DOES NOT HELP AT ALL BECAUSE THEY STILL LOOK GRAY AND TEAL.
This, of course, brings back dark and unsettling memories of 2015’s “the dress” incident, in which the fabric of society was rended by a dress that, to some, looked white and gold and to others looked blue and black.
The basic premise is the same: Wonky lighting and limited context can turn an otherwise innocuous image into a rich discussion point on biological and sensory differences. Also, it can make you go crazy.
“It has to do with the tiny cones in the back of our eyeballs that perceive colors in a slightly different way depending upon our genes,” explained CNN’s Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen during the height of the dress debate.
The cones in our retinas — the fine layer of nerve tissue that lines the back of our eyes — detect the blue, green, and red in an image and both the cones and your brain mix those colors to make other colors, she said.
“Your brain is constantly estimating the color of the light that’s falling on the object and factoring that light out,” added Wallace Thoreson, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center added. “Each of us makes slightly different unconscious assumptions.”
There’s something incredibly wholesome about arguing over the color of a dress or a pair of shoes, don’t you think?
It doesn’t say anything about who you are as a person, or how you think the world should be. The argument doesn’t reveal any fundamental differences that may challenge your relationships with those you love. It’s just eyes and brains making different calculations inside these breathtaking machines we call bodies. How could we not marvel at such a phenomenon?
But also, come on. Those shoes are totally teal and gray.
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