Brain Trick

Dancer Pretty amazing optical/brain trick: Is this dancer rotating clockwise, or counter-clockwise? “If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.” Apparently most people see her turning counter-clockwise, but Amy, Miles, and I all saw her turning clockwise. Unlike many optical illusions, this one hits you with absolute certainty – your senses don’t lie that profoundly, right? Amy: “Anyone who says she’s turning counter-clockwise is just wrong. Just wrong.” Then, 30 seconds later – “Wait! Now she’s turning counter-clockwise!” Took me a bit longer, but then suddenly she changed direction for me as well. I could not will her to change direction – she just seemed to reverse at random. But she stayed clockwise about 80% of the time, no matter how much I stared.

How this plays into left-brain / right-brain differences is a matter for psychologists – unfortunately there is no real article to accompany it.

Music: Frank Zappa :: Bolero

11 Replies to “Brain Trick”

  1. that’s so funny that amy said that. at first, i saw her go counter-clockwise and could NOT imagine how anyone could see her going clockwise. then i focused for a bit and she swapped directions. now i can’t get her to go back to counter-clockwise. brains are pretty amazing.


    If I try to imagine her turning counter-clockwise, it seems so awkward, like she’s going to trip on her own leg and fall forward. No matter how hard I try, I can’t “reverse” it.

    Reminds me of a quiz Amy and I took a while ago. It showed just pictures of people’s eyes (sans nose, forehead and mouth). You had to say what emotion they were expressing. I dismissed it, saying: “This is the dumbest quiz I’ve ever seen —- it’s so stupidly easy,” and Amy was over there scratching her head going: “Mad? Quizzical? Frightened? I HAVE NO IDEA! What the hell?” T.T. had the same exact reaction. It was hilarious.

  3. I saw her turning counter-clockwise at first. I found it is much easier to “reverse” her if you mask most of her figure so that you can only see her feet. When you are convinced her feet are turning in the desired direction, just uncover the rest of the picture.

  4. Clockwise! I just can’t get her to turn anti-clockwise. If I look half-a-screen away from her, so that I can just see her out of the corner of my eye, then she sometimes turns anti-clockwise for half a revolution before flip-flopping clockwise again, but as soon as I move the focus of my attention on to her she is always moving clockwise, and nothing I can do will make it otherwise.

    Not sure about the explanation, I always thought myself a fairly left-brainish sort of person, although I guess with a big dose of right too.

  5. Like Dana, CLOCKWISE unless I’m using my peripheral vision. (as when focused on the text rather than the image)

  6. I saw her spinning to her left at first. And while watching that I tried to figure out does that mean clockwise or counter? I guess that means, like a screw, if I was looking down on her, she would be going counter.

    She reversed direction (to her right) when I scanned down her body to her foot. I then tested that if I scanned slowly back up to her head, would she reverse again? Bingo. Back down slowly to her foot, another reverse. So I’ve got her spinning on command.

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