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Left or Right?

DancerApologies if you’ve seen this recently – I gather it’s being doing the rounds, but since I got sent this yesterday it’s been totally fascinating me.

Look at the silhouette dancing image on the right here, and tell me this: Is she spinning clockwise, or anti-clockwise?

Supposedly, this is a ‘Right Brain vs Left Brain’ test, and different people see different things. Some people are able to make it ‘switch’ at will. Some people see both, but have no control over it.

Some people think that it’s a hoax and that the graphic is being manipulated (It’s an animated GIF, so if you have an animated GIF editor, then feel free to save it, open it up and tell us what you see)

But I’m totally fascinated by what does appear to be a very cool optical illusion.

If you see it spinning clockwise, then you are a ‘right sided’ brain person, who uses feeling, is ‘big picture’ orientated and your imagination rules you.

If you see it spinning anti-clockwise, then you are a ‘left sided’ brain person who uses logic, is detail orientated and facts rule.

Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.

So do you see clockwise or anti-clockwise? Are you left or right minded?

35 responses to “Left or Right?”

  1. Kirk says:

    Well, I see it spinning clockwise, but I’m a left sided brain person, so that screws that up…

  2. Cal says:

    Started off clockwise, then went anti-clockwise for a few rotations, then back to clockwise… I’m trying to get it to go back to anti-clockwise but no luck so far!

  3. geofftech says:

    TIP: To get it to change direction, try staring at the heel for a few seconds, then looking back up.

  4. Rhys says:

    So it started out spinning clockwise and then I looked at the words and started watching it out of the corner of my eye and it switched. And I’ve managed to make it go back and forth but then I noticed that everytime I scrolled down on the page it stopped and when it restarted it had changed directions so I’m going to go open it in fireworks and look at it frame by frame.

  5. Rhys says:

    Wow, I had one version up in fireworks and another on the web and since they weren’t moving in time with each other I managed to get one version to turn right and the other to turn left. Eeeeeek.

    Frame by frame she simply does one circuit and then it loops. Frame by frame I see her turning clockwise though about halfway when her legs cross over each other I can see how she might seem to turn and that’s probably the clue that makes people then think she’s going anti-clockwise.

  6. geofftech says:

    Any chance of sending me screen shots/captures of those frames, Rhys? How many frames are there, anyway?

  7. geofftech says:

    oookay! this is freaky. i can now get her to turn totally at will, here’s how:

    scroll the screen down, or use your hand to cover the screen so that you can’t see the body or the ‘outside’ leg, you can only see the pivotal heel that’s turning, like this:

    concentrating on that by itself, you can get it turn in either way that you want it to. wait until it’s ‘side on’ to you (as show in the image) and in your head, you can then choose to whether you believe it’s going clockwise (by coming out TOWARDS you at the screen), or going anti-clockwise by going AWAY from you into the screen. it’s freaky.

    once you’ve got that mastered, reveal the rest of the images, and again – using the heel as a key point you’ll find that you can switch her direction at will. totally f’ing brilliant!

    i can get her to dance 180 degrees back and forth – you have to IGNORE the outswinging leg at the time that you want to ‘turn’ her, but then watch it to get the effect, then ignore it again and concentrate on the heel when you want to switch her back.

    who the hell designed this? it’s amazing.

  8. Julia says:

    Nope, I can only get her to go anticlockwise…. Must be a vulcan

  9. Chz says:

    Right brained, left brained, whatever… It tells you you’re truly a bloke if you notice the silhouette has nipples.

    (It goes CCW by default for me, but I can make it switch)

  10. David - Lightwater, UK says:

    I see it going clockwise, then again I am left handed!

  11. Dan says:

    Well, I meet a lot of people, and I’m convinced that the vast majority of wrong-thinking people are right.

  12. Chris says:

    What about when you’re not looking? Which way is she going then? Does she know? Does she exist? Do you exist? etc.

  13. Mr Spoon says:

    I’m sure it keeps changing direction!!! wheneve i look away she does a little jog and goes from clockwise to anti-clockwise, she a trixy lttle one, i’ve got my eye on her!

  14. Geoff's cousin says:

    I don’t care which way she’s spinning – I’m just enjoying staring at her nipples

  15. Julia says:

    Yey! I made her switch! Phew.

  16. Youichi says:

    err, which way do people think is clockwise ?

    Do you mean shes turning to her left or right ? I can see both ways.

    If she was turning to the left, and looking down at her body, she would see that as anti-clockwise, but if she was looking in the air, she would see it as clockwise.

  17. Tina (G's Mum) says:

    Clockwise for me! I went a bit dizzy watching it after a while.

  18. Leigh says:

    BTW, we call it “counter-clockwise” as opposed to your “anti-clockwise”

  19. Ciaran Byrne says:

    I haven’t got past her arse and tits.

  20. Geoff's Mum says:

    Oh Gawd, I just checked again and she changed direction!

  21. Paul Ryan says:

    I guess the reason the anti-clockwise motion indicates logic is the fact that the shadow of the outstretched leg could only be cast when that leg is further from the viewer than the pivot leg as the light source is shining towards you.
    It’s great the way the brain tries to make 3-D sense of a 2-D image. A bit like those impossible feats of architecture in MC Escher prints.

  22. […] Geoff has an optical illusion to share. […]

  23. Michael says:

    hmmm….no mater how long I look at it our how much of the image i crop out, she ONLY turns clockwise. I cannot make her go the other way!

  24. Alan P says:

    Clockwise for me, anti for my girlfriend, although follwoing Geoffs tips we were both able to make her go the other way.

  25. She goes one way, then randomly flips and goes the other way… but I think the anti-clockwise is more dominant for me. I’m definitely a left-brained person, but I think there might be a right-brained persona that’s mostly suppressed…?

  26. Anyhow, I think it’s a reflection in the floor, not a shadow. It works both ways.

  27. sam says:

    I had her going anti-clockwise at first, then switched my attention to her properly and she turned the other way instead.
    She’s freaking me out, she is.
    And okay, so the point is that she’s an illusion, but does her silhouette really need to be so detailed? 😉

  28. sam says:

    And Mr Spoon has a point. She’s changing direction whenever I look away, to try to get my attention bac. Bad lass.

  29. Chris says:

    OMG. I just glanced at her from the knees down and one leg was going one way and one was going the other! I dread to think what was happening further up…

  30. Håkan says:

    I’m sorry to say – the illusion is flawed. If you look at the “outer” foot shadow, it most definitely comes towards you at the left side of the picture and goes out of vision (towards you) when the “outer” foot moves to the right but is visible while the foot moves to the left – i.e. when going left the foot is further from you and consequently at the rear. This “proves” that the picture was originally designed to depict a counter clockwise (ccw) rotation! Even without the shadow you can deduce that it is a ccw movement by noting the height difference between the feet during the phases of the rotation.

    This also gives an interesting twist to the explanation – “If you see it spinning anti-clockwise, then you are a ‘left sided’ brain person who uses logic, is detail orientated and facts rule.” I guess the above reasoning is indeed both logical and detail oriented…

    Having said that, it absolutely works as a great illusion and I can also see both rotations and change direction at will…

    Anyway check this one out as well:

  31. geofftech says:

    Nice reasoning Hakan!

    i’m having trouble spotting the Giraffe though… 🙂

  32. […] theory is according to Geoff of […]

  33. Nikki Greig says:

    John and I both see her spin in both directions, but not at the same time!!! She keeps switching – really weird, but cool

  34. Chris says:

    when i first look at it, it rotates clockwise and i couldnt get it to rotate anti clockwise. I tried reading something else or doing math visually and looked at it again and it is now rotating anti clockwise.

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