In the first survey, “strong larks” (the earliest risers) were 11 percent more likely to see the dress as white and gold than “strong owls” (the latest sleepers). In the second survey, this increased to 40 percent. The difference, he suggests, may be due to fewer people “trolling” the survey when it had lapsed from public view.
As to why this is the case, it seems to come down to lighting. Perhaps early risers, who see more daylight, interpret the dress as being lit by natural light, and thus see it white and gold. Those who sleep later perceive it to be lit by artificial light, and thus it appears black and blue.
There was also a sharp drop in people who saw it as white and gold after the age of 65 for some reason. Perhaps there is a link to retirement, and the amount of time people spend outdoors.
Sleep patterns and dress color. Pascal Wallisch
Wallisch noted to IFLScience the science was still not entirely settled, though. "How would you ask someone about their history of relative illumination exposure?" he said. "The owl thing is simply a proxy to get at that. And it worked. But given how noisy it is, one needs thousands of people to show that in a statistically reliable way."
He's now conducting a new survey to further get to the bottom of it all, which you can get involved with here.
Are you an owl or lark? What color do you see the dress as (out of interest, I’m an “owl” but see it as white and gold)? Let us know in the comments below. Then we’ll never talk about it again. Probably.
Retirement and dress color. Pascal Wallisch