Look at the animation below. Do you see the dancer spinning clockwise or counterclockwise?
This thing has been all over the internet the past couple of days — usually with the explanation that the direction you see her spinning is an indication of whether you’re “left-brained” or “right-brained” and what that supposedly says about your personality. Well, I kinda figured that whole personality thing was probably bullshit, so I went looking for the REAL explanation for why different people see the dancer spinning in different directions.
NeuroLogica Blog » Left Brain – Right brain and the Spinning Girl
The spinning girl is a form of the more general spinning silhouette illusion. The image is not objectively “spinning” in one direction or the other. It is a two-dimensional image that is simply shifting back and forth. But our brains did not evolve to interpret two-dimensional representations of the world but the actual three-dimensional world. So our visual processing assumes we are looking at a 3-D image and is uses clues to interpret it as such. Or, without adequate clues it may just arbitrarily decide a best fit – spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. And once this fit is chosen, the illusion is complete – we see a 3-D spinning image.
Whether you see it spinning clockwise or counterclockwise is determined by how your visual cortex processes information and it’s got nothing to do with your personality. It is a very cool illusion, though.
If you were wondering, I first see it as spinning clockwise but if I watch it for a while, it will sometimes seem to change directions.
Whoever made this did a really nice job on it, by the way.