This thing makes me crazy. This particular web page has been out for a couple of years, and this image has come up before and caused all kinds of arguments in our newsroom. Which way is the lady on this page spinning?
If you say CLOCKWISE (of COURSE she's spinning clockwise) you are right brained. If you see her going COUNTER CLOCKWISE, you are left brained.
Here is the list traits for each brain side, as published in the Daily Telegraph, in case you can't remember which is which (like me... is that telling?)
LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
words and language
present and past
math and science
knows object name
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
"big picture" oriented
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
knows object function
Hey, words are my tools. And I'm logical. Detail oriented. OR AM I?
They say you can make her flip directions by looking at it long enough. I yelled at everyone for about ten minutes about how absurd that was, that how could she turn directions when she's clearly spinning clockwise. Then all of a sudden she was absolutely going counter-clockwise. I just got way better at math.
Woop, there she flipped. Watch the shadow on the floor, that's what helped me see it.
But perhaps it's all meaningless, this diagnosis of your tendency. Check this out, from this website on optical illusions:
"This illusion made the rounds in the Internet late 2007...it was accompanied with misguided and erroneous comments about the right and left brain hemispheres, insinuating that a given spin direction was associated with dominance of one of the two hemispheres, topping this with totally exaggerated interpretations of hemispheric specialisation, which is strongly overstated in populist claims..."
"All silhouettes are ambiguous. Our brain tries to reconstruct the third dimension (space) from the flat image in our eyes, adding information which is usually realistic, but not really there. And in the case of a silhouette, there are two equally likely interpretations, leading to perceptual rivalry."
This writer also gives credit to the original artist, Nobuyuki Kayahara. If you want to get a headache, check out this page which explores what is going on in the brain when ambiguous figures reverse. Wow, that's a real hard sell. Here's a peek:
Anyway, back to our spinning lady. This Silhouette Illusion expert says it's actually more likely you'll see her going clockwise, because of the information that IS there:
All silhouettes are ambiguous. Our brain tries to reconstruct the third dimension (space) from the flat image in our eyes, adding information which is usually realistic, but not really there. And in the case of a silhouette, there are two equally likely interpretations, leading to perceptual rivalry. Actually, as some of you commented, and I agree: they are not completely identical in likelihood, because on left rotation the 3D arrangement is such that one looks from below – one looks at the sole of the foot. That may explain the statistical preference for rightward motion.
I feel better now. I'm happy to know that this internet phenomenon from a few years ago is sort of a hoax ... debunked even by Wikipedia now:
The illusion has been incorrectly identified as a scientific personality test that supposedly reveals which hemisphere of the brain is dominant in the observer. Under this unproven interpretation, it has been popularly called the Right Brain–Left Brain test, and was widely circulated on the Internet during late 2007 to early 2008.
For some reason I was looking at this spinning girl again while watching the Lakers play last night, and I started researching the ever-lengthening inseam on players' shorts. I know Michael Jordan started the trend, and John Stockton bucked it ... so why does fashion not go in cycles in Sports? Any thoughts? I'm thinking about researching that, and some of the all time worst uniforms in sports history. Send me your ideas and I'll post 'em tomorrow.