March 3, 2015

How does Arnerich Massena see THE DRESS?

THE DRESS has been so widely commented upon — sparking internet memes in the furthest corners of the web — that we had to get in on the action too. If you don’t know about THE DRESS, it’s an oddly illuminated photograph of a dress someone was wearing to a wedding in Scotland that has sparked rampant controversy across the globe. Some people see the dress as black and navy blue, whereas others see a white and gold dress. That’s quite a different perception! (Look below to see a photo of the dress.)

Both camps — blue/black and gold/white — seem to be astonished and disbelieving that anyone could see things another way. Scientifically, the disparate perceptions are a result of how much our eyes color correct for lighting; rather than reporting the exact reflection of wavelengths that enter our eyes, our brain transforms that signal based on ambient lighting. That’s why objects don’t seem to change color as the light shifts from pink morning light to blue daylight to golden afternoon light to dusky evening light.

THE DRESS offers a valuable lesson in perception. We humans literally don’t see eye to eye. Even the difference between blue and white may not be so black and white, so to speak. Perceptions aren’t always accurate either, an important point to keep in mind as an investor, and as a person.

How do we see THE DRESS at Arnerich Massena? Here are the results of our informal internal staff survey:

Black/Blue: 11

Gold/White: 16

Lavender/Brown: 1

Blue/Brown: 1

Blue/Gold: 3

There’s another valuable lesson for investors to be found in THE DRESS — if this is the viral phenomenon of 2015 and the heart of a worldwide controversy, it provides pretty convincing proof that we humans are irrational beings.

the dress