Infoscience

Journal article

The role of one-shot learning in #TheDress

#TheDress is remarkable in two aspects. First, there is a bimodal split of the population in the perception of the dress's colors (white/gold vs. black/blue). Second, whereas interobserver variance is high, intra-observer variance is low, i. e., the percept rarely switches in a given individual. There are two plausible routes of explanations: either one-shot learning during the first presentation of the image splits observers into two different, stable populations, or the differences are caused by stable traits of observers, such as different visual systems. Here, we hid large parts of the image by white occluders. The majority of naive participants perceived the dress as black and blue. With black occluders, the majority of observers perceived the dress as white and gold. The percept did not change when we subsequently presented the full image, arguing for a crucial role of one-shot learning. Next, we investigated whether the first fixation determines the perceived color in naive observers. We found no such effect. It remains thus a puzzling question where the source of variability in the different percepts comes from.

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