Why does it matter what color these flip flops are?

The debate seems to enthrall many in the community.

TAMPA - Have you seen it? The flip-flop flap sizzling on social media?

If you remember the dress that got people talking last year, it’s the same idea, only this time it involves a pair of sandals and their actual color. And people are once again very passionate about their answers. 

Before you start asking “Who cares?” we wondered why so many people do seem to care about something like this.

It didn't take long to find a full pallet of perceptions when we showed the picture around downtown Tampa.

“It was looking more like a bluish-gray,” said one man. “I see some gray and blue,” said a woman standing next to him. “I could go for maybe some kind of all of drab green,” added a third guy staring at the exact same image.

With so many people seeing the same thing so differently, it got a passerby named Stephanie Boh to wonder, “Are they colorblind? It could be a different perception of what they're perceiving and seeing.”

Experts say that’s possible - that it literally, physically, is in the eye of the beholder because our brains adjust the way we perceive color.  

Chandra Clines, who at first thought the image was white and beige, quickly changed her mind to blue and black.

“They are so interesting because it's just perception, you know?” said Clines.

What became tougher to explain is why people then got so defensive about their take on something so trivial.

Blame your brain, says psychotherapist Lynn Nelson. Specifically, the anterior cingulate gyrus. 

"When this part of our brain is overactive, that person is going to have particular trouble letting go,” said Nelson. “They're not going to have the flexibility of thought. 

And social media, says Nelson, is like throwing fuel on that fire.

If you care to know, the company that makes the flip flops says they're actually dark and light blue.

But even if you don't care, at least now you know why so many apparently do.

“They just can't let go of it,” said Nelson. “It's like a dog with a bone.”

(© 2016 WTSP)


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