It’s true — I’ve moved to the right

There is this spinning woman who is doing the rounds on the internet at the moment. Thinks she’s really clever by looking like she’s turning clockwise when she’s actually turning anti-clockwise, while in actual fact she was turning clockwise all along! And anti-clockwise. At the same time.

Apparently, whether you perceive the woman to be turning clockwise or anti-clockwise tells you which side of your brain you use the most. Immediately it was obvious to me that the woman was turning clockwise. I felt a bit smug. After all, clockwise must be the side of the brain that makes me intelligent, witty, good looking and a mathematical genius.


If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain…

uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Are they calling me a girl or something?

Seriously. Looking at the lists, I would have always guessed that I would have been the left side of the brain. Not that I wish to blow my own trumpet, but I always consider myself to use logic, have attention to detail, reasonably good numerical skills and reality based. I am far to strategic for my own good, in the sense that I always spend so long thinking about things that I miss the boat.

Not that the skills for the right side of the brain are that bad. But I just don’t see it. I have less spatial awareness than Stevie Wonder, a dire imagination and I’m apathetic about symbolism. I am only religious in the sense that I am a Pastafarian. As for risk-taking, I can’t climb a ladder without completely crapping myself beforehand.

As if to compound the matter, the the article states that most people see the woman turning anti-clockwise. Brilliant! Other people are mathematical genii. I do little more than believe.

I believe, and I also live in a fantasy land. So what if I believe that I am a left-brainer? Or is that just a fantasy? This was all getting a bit too much for me.

I struggled to comprehend the situation. When I first loaded the page it was patently obvious to me that the woman was turning clockwise — there were no two ways about it. But I knew that she could turn anti-clockwise as well. In order to regain a modicum of self esteem, I strained my hardest to get the woman to turn anti-clockwise. It’s Magic Eye for the noughties.

And blow me down. It worked! It happened when I began to lose my focus while staring at her neck. I started to feel a little bit sick. It’s quite earth-shattering to see someone who has only ever turned clockwise suddenly decide to turn anti-clockwise. What’s more, I was now just as adamant that the woman could only possibly ever turn anti-clockwise, and surely never clockwise.

But soon enough I was able to switch between clockwise woman and anti-clockwise woman at will, as though I was flicking between The God Channel and BBC Four. My tip: look at the shadow that the sticky-out foot makes on the floor.

Now I feel much better. I can switch between clockwise and anti-clockwise at will. This must mean that I am brilliant at everything.

Also: Hehehehe. Boobs.

Seriously though. Does the illusion fail to work if it is a boobless man? What about that funny pose she is pulling? She doesn’t know if she’s slipping on a banana or if she is a little teapot, short and stout.

Flashboy was similarly freaked out by the strange levitating woman.

Aaaannyway. How did they decide that clockwise equals the right side and vice-versa? I have not seen any solid science on this — just a crappy Digg-magnetic article on an Australian newspaper. Part of me suspects that this article either

  1. Is a pile of horseshit
  2. Got the lists for the left and right sides of the brain the wrong way round

I’ll have my eye on Ben Goldacre’s blog for this!


  1. i take all right vs left hemisphere “tests” with a generous pinch of salt. but for what it’s worth, i saw the silhouette move in both directions. and i noticed that she was anatomically correct, albeit a little titillatingly, if there were such a word. the test was thus clearly designed by men for men, and therefore skewed already…

  2. My first impression was that she was moving anti-clockwise, and my life is basically centred around maths-related “stuff”, so there’s a data point on the other side from you πŸ˜€

  3. I’ve tried this twice now, and I just can’t get the dancer to spin anti-clockwise! There goes any thought of me being logical – mind you, I was always useless at those magic eye pictures as well!

  4. It’s a con, isn’t it? If you wait long enough she changes direction pure and simple. The spinning must be programmed that way.

  5. Well, all I know is when I looked, she was spinning clockwise. I looked through the list of right-brained attributes and found myself going, ‘Yes’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘Maybe’, ‘Probably’, ‘You are joking!’ and so on.

    Which actually disproves part of what they’re saying about right-brainers, so I’m going to ignore this.

    Though strangely, I do meet the stereotype of your average Aquarius.

  6. Okay, I have gone to sad lengths here, but I opened up the gif file in The Gimp and looked at it frame-by-frame. The gif is only 30-odd frames long, so it doesn’t just start going the other way after a certain amount of time.

    What happens is that she starts turning clockwise until her extended leg is perpendicular to your perspective, pointing to the right. Then she starts turning anti-clockwise until once again the extended leg is perpendicular, this time pointing to the left. She only ever moves in these 180 degrees, swinging back and forward like a horizontal pendulum.

    I suppose the trick is that the brain fills in the other 180 degrees, so that you are tricked into believing that she is spinning the full 360 degrees when she actually isn’t.

  7. Isn’t it connected to the hand you write with as to what side of the brain you use more?
    Left handed=right hand side of the brain, meaning lots of witty “Only left handers are in their right mind” T-shirts and frivolities. πŸ™‚