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A chest of drawers agamiegamer / Reddit

Is this chest of drawers pink and white or blue and grey?

Let the battle begin

Tomasz Frymorgen
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The chest before you is categorically blue and grey. Anyone with the power of sight will tell you that. 

Except for those who will swear on their lives that it is in fact pink and white. 

For this is yet another one of those which-colour-do-you-see debates to threaten even the closest relationships. 

Mothers will declare blue, while daughters will swear pink. Fathers insisting upon grey will rage at sons claiming white. 

The latest troublemaker cracking open the Internet with these divisive colour schemes is a certain Reddit user named agamiegamer.

The Redditer posted the image, asking whether people looking at the chest could see pink and white or blue and grey drawers.

Obviously, all hell broke loose. The image has since gone viral, fuelling twitter debate. 

We’ve only recently got over the flip-flop colour saga of 2016.

Looks like this post is no longer available from its original source. It might've been taken down or had its privacy settings changed."

Late last year Portuguese Twitter user Arthur posted a picture of the footwear, asking people “What colour do you see?”

Tweeters dutifully went in to battle over the question, with most people seeing either blue and gold, black and blue, white and gold or blue and brown. 

According to a Buzzfeed poll of over a million people, the clear winner was white and gold, with 44% of respondents opting for this option.

And who could forget the original colour conundrum: #TheDress?

In February 2015, Tumblr blogger Swiked posted an image of a dress online after it started an argument amongst her friends.

“Guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the **** out,” she wrote.

The dress was picked up by media outlets, helping to escalate the situation into a global meltdown.

Even celebrities entered the fray.

So what’s actually behind all these heated disagreements?

According to Wired, the reason is biological.

Light enters our eyes through our lenses, with different wavelengths corresponding to different colours.

The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where neural connections to the visual cortex are activated – the part of our brain that processes these visual signals into an image.

Our brains then filter out reflected light so that we are left with the 'true' colour in front of us.

However with these optical illusions our brains may be getting confused about what the 'true' colour is. Our brains are attempting to filter out the reflected daylight in the image, and different brains are filtering out different shades of light.

"What's happening here [with the dress] is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you're trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis," Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist specialising in colour and vision, told Wired.

"People either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black." 

So there you have the science behind these visual conundrums.

But why allow reason to get in the way of a good old flame war?

Originally published 20 December 2017.