That dress on the internet that went viral – views from an autistic mind


The white/gold versus blue/black dress, divided the internet. What colour was it? The debate over that dress all began when a photograph of the dress was posted on Tumblr with the question, “what colors are this dress,” and as they say the rest is history.

Due to the photograph beng badly lit, a fierce debate began about what colour the dress really was. CNBC News report that Buzzfeed’s deputy news director, Jon Passatino, tweeted that the dress broke the site’s traffic records, as in six hours it had 16 million hits.

Buzfeed wrote an interesting article about the dress and how it is perceived by an autistic mind. Dr. Emily Willingham, a developmental biologist and mother to a child with autism, tweeted her thoughts about that dress in relation to autism and sensory issues.


Scientists have well documented that autism can be characterized by sensory issues and Temple Grandin, has spoken on this subject on many occasion as well as giving insights into her own experiences of sensory issues related to vision and touch.

Karla Fisher, who runs a Facebook page about autism told Buzz Feed:

 “I tend to see lots and lots of things but cannot distinguish those things without spending actual time building them actively in my brain,”

“I have to focus on an area and wait until my eyes can actually make sense of that small area, and then I can move on. It isn’t about colors or not colors. It is rather about dress or not dress.”

Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), told BuzzFeed news about the difficulties that people on the spectrum have with all five senses.  With regards to the dress incident he stated that,

“a really good way of acknowledging that people see things differently, perceive things differently, and one way is not necessarily superior to the other.”

Source: Leslie Shaffer on CNBC News:  The dress that broke the Internet
Virginia Hughes on BuzzFeed News: #TheDress Reveals Something Pretty Profound About Autism