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What Color Is The Dress? The Science Behind The Social Media Debate

By KYW Medical Editor Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A picture of a dress on social media has sparked a debate over what exactly the colors are, and there is actually a science behind the debate.

It's the simple question: what colors are the dress? You probably have your own answer, and you probably know at least one other person who doesn't agree with you. Certain people are seeing white and gold, others are seeing black and blue -- which raises the question, why?

Essentially, when we see color, it's what we perceive it to be. For instance, an apple is not necessarily red. What it really is, is reflecting the wavelengths we see as red and absorbing all the rest. That's what gives it the red color in our eyes. And it is our retina which has rods and cones which help make these images.

For some people, based on the background and the color and the lighting, they will perceive different colors in the same object.

For the record, a U.K. retailer has come out on Twitter to confirm that the dress that's blowing up the Internet is, in fact, blue and black.

So, what colors do you see?

Let us know what you colors see on our Facebook page or Tweet us @CBSPhilly using #CBS3.

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