Do men see colors different than women?

February 27, 2015

Nationwide people are arguing over the color of this dress. While the dress is blue and black, most people see white and gold. In many homes, the men see black and blue and women see gold and white.

What do you see and are you a male or female — Republican or Democrat?

blue grey dress


There is an article on that explains the differing interpretations of the colors. Basically it amounts to the fact that people’s brains unconsciously correct for lighting conditions when they see colors because the same color will appear differently under different lighting. These corrections vary from person to person which is what causes the different perceptions.

As an interesting aside, the neuroscientist expert on the subject that is quoted in the article was studying color vision in dogs about 35 years ago at UCSB. I knew him at the time.


Correction: The Yahoo article is actually just a link to an article at


I see gold and white, but it’s because my brain is probably making the assumption that given the back lighting the person has moved into a shaded area, giving the illusion that the dress is light blue and gold.

I guess I need my eyes checked!


Yep, That’s what I see also.


And through rose tinted glasses it’s …

Jorge Estrada

Just squint your eyes and the dress is deffinately blue and black. The real reason for the differance is when a man sees a figure like this, he will likely have to squint his eyes for a better look.



Thanks for the laugh Jorge!


The problem with online tests like this is that everyone’s monitor displays the colors differently.


That can’t be the only factor involved if it is one at all. There are numerous cases of different people seeing different colors while looking at the same monitor.


I thought this was so interesting I looked for and found an online test of the ability to distinguish subtle color variations. It’s at

A score of zero means you see color perfectly. A score of 99 means you don’t see color well. My score was 16. They ask for your gender and age, and compare your results to those in the same category.


Cool test! I got 6 and that dress is light blue and gold. My wife got 45 and to her the dress is black and blue.


I went back and tried again, really concentrating, and managed to get a score of 8, but I don’t think I’d get it any lower than that because there were a couple of cases where two color chips looked to me like the same color. I saw the blue and gold too.


Nice test! Of course I may be prejudiced because I scored a “4” — woo hoo! I agree with your color evaluation on the dress too although the light blue could be a shaded white.

Sore Throat

This is clearly not a “black or white” issue and I hope that the people who see gold and white are not painting cars for a living.


What about people who see it as light blue and dark gold?


“Colorblind” is a well-known, documented condition occurring more often in men than women. Anyone who has been to an optometrist and seen the chart with the red and green backgrounds with letters on them and has been asked, “Are the letters clearer/easier to read on the red or the green side?” should know this. If they are equally sharp, you don’t have a problem. If you are sufficiently color-blind (sorry I don’t know the definition for that) you may not be able to get into the armed forces or certain other careers.

As far as I know, political affiliation has nothing to do with the condition.


When WWII started, my father (a Stanford grad and MBA) tried to get into Officer Candidate School. They rejected him for color blindness. The Navy rejected him for “flat feet”, so he volunteered for the draft. Since he knew how to type, he was assigned to Presidio of Monterey, escorting troops to East coast for deployment in Europe. He used to joke that he packed a typewriter all over the U.S.A.


Huh?! The colors are a shade of blue and dark gold. Why in the heck is this a story?


My kids were discussing this on the way to school. I see white and gold and cannot see blue.


Hey, pigsrule- unfair… you forgot to indicate whether you are male or female and

Republican or Democrat!


I also see light blue, the color of the sky on a bright, clear day, and dark gold. The spotted fabric left of and behind the dress has some black and white.

I guess it’s a story just because it’s interesting to some people.


It’s a story because CalCoastNews says it is. And CNN. And Associated Press. And Reuters. And Huffington Post. And the NY Times. And the Washington Post and Times. And on and on. Everyone’s a critic.


When I did some research on the subject, I learned some new things, so the story was beneficial for me. I found one story about the differences in how men and women see the color red. It says women can perceive more shades of red “Because the gene sits on the X chromosome–and women have two X chromosomes and so two copies of this gene, compared with only one for men–the gene aids women’s ability to perceive the red-orange color spectrum”,. I know that’s probably not all that interesting to many people, but it is to me.