What color is that dress? That question is so last week. Now, the next viral fad is to take a tetrachromat test online to see if you are indeed blessed with a fourth eye cone that gives you tetrachromacy vision. But is there actually anything to the online tetrachromat test?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the dress debate has eye doctors weighing in on the controversy with a bit of science, but reddit claims they’ve found both white-gold and blue-black versions of the same dress, even though the manufacturer supposedly claims only the latter version exists.
This particular color test started on LinkedIn, with someone calling themselves Professor Diana Derval asking how many colors can you see in regards to the above image. The idea is that if you can visually count more than 32 colors, then you have tetrachromacy vision, which supposedly means you have a fourth cone in your eye.
In practice, this means a tetrachromat can see a whole lot more variations of color than one of us plain ol’ trichromats. If you only see less than 20 color variants, then your vision is supposedly dog poor, meaning you are a dichromat, who likely enjoys wearing black, beige, and blue. At least this explains that dress (that’s a joke).
The online tetrachromat test also claims that 25 percent of the world population is a tetrachromat, which would explain why so many friends on Facebook suddenly developed tetrachromacy. If you pass the tetrachromacy test, it’s claimed you are likely irritated by yellow, so this color won’t be found in your closet.
But is any of this actually true? Jay Neitz, a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, estimated that half of the world’s female population does indeed have a fourth cone, but this hardly makes them a tetrachromat. It’s believed only a small percentage of women can actually see extra colors in our world, and the odds of being a male tetrachromat are estimated to be very low.
In addition, the tetrachromat test fails for one simple reason: computer screens, even those fancy high contrast LED screens, are simply not physically capable of displaying the full range of light, according to New Castle University’s Tetrachromacy Project.
“Unfortunately, computer screens do not provide enough colour information to be able to ‘tap into’ the extra dimension that tetrachromats may possess. It is therefore impossible for an online test to investigate tetrachromacy.”
So, yes, that does mean you can tell your friends to stop making claim to tetrachromacy vision based upon that fake tetrachromat test. But it is indeed possible to test online for color deficiency with the X-Rite test, although the results are not completely reliable.