Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What #TheDress Says About Eyewitness Misidentification

If you have spent any time on social media in the last month, you have likely been inundated with images and analysis of #TheDress.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, an image of a dress that is very clearly royal blue and black in real life has gone viral. The exposure of the picture is such that it has divided viewers into two categories: Those who see it as blue and black, and those who see it as white and gold. If you see a true image of the dress, it is hard to imagine how anyone could ever perceive it as white and gold; however, the viral image is much less clear.

Experts have weighed in on the phenomenon, saying that our brains process colors in context, a term known as "color constancy." For example, if the pinkish hue of light in the sunset falls on a white blouse, the blouse will itself take on a pinkish hue; however, because of context and color constancy, we still see the blouse as white.

...Right now, you may be asking yourself why a criminal defense attorney would give a damn about a dress. While I have little interest in fashion, I'm definitely concerned with psychology, human nature, and the impact each has on the reliability of eyewitness testimony... and what that testimony can mean for my clients.

More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-banner/what-the-dress-says-about-eyewitness-misidentification_b_6842816.html

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