A few weeks ago, many of us woke to a media firestorm surrounding the question, ‘What color is that dress, gold and white or blue and black’? While many shrugged and said, ‘who really cares’, there were those of us who thought of it as a fun and interesting discussion to follow, especially those of us who find the topic of color perception to be fascinating. While in this instance it seems that the dress patterning and differences in lighting may have both played roles in the variant dress color, we should also consider color perception. The simple fact that much of how we experience color is subjective, that is to say, that color resides within the realm of human sensation.
As it turns out, two things are certain; first, color vision is a complex topic and second, it is one that most of us don’t really think much about. Yes, we might delight in an especially lovely color or proclaim to others that of which is our favorite color but we rarely, if ever, wonder or question how it is that we ‘see’ color.