Who would have thought one simple little dress could bring down yet another Democrat president. As social media continues to debate if #thedress is truly black and blue, gold and white or gold and black, we are once again confronted with the very same scientific phenomena that surrounded the debate of ‘Is Obama Kenyan or American’?
Those who believe that Obama is an American, just like those who thought the dress was gold and white, are the victims of an advanced psychological illusion called The Color Perception Paradox.
This rarely discussed psychological phenomenon that involves visual processing between the eyes and brain. Contrary to popular thought, your eyes are not a simple portal to the outside world. Your eyes do receive visual stimuli, but your brain actually has to decode the stimuli into what you see. This means that our brains are subject to optical illusions, as the brain extrapolates visual data and renders a ‘scene’ in which we are taking in. An excellent article on Wired goes into more detail on this process.
Obama’s interns are masters of this type of thing, so they use it as an advantage. Do you ever notice when Obama is giving a speech about the economy or something official, he looks a bit more white as he tries to use a lighter tone to demand a greater sense of authority?
But when he is pandering to his voters or starting trouble like he did when grandstanding on Ferguson or Trayvon Martin, all of a sudden Obama is talking slang and looking darker?
The science behind the dress explains how Obama can look American one moment, but more ethnic the next. Our brains are just subject to clever camera lighting and the background Obama is choosing for his venue.
But when you strip back all of the illusions, you find that only a Kenyan remains.