Voldemort made me do it.
It started like a regular work day. Checked the email, cranked out a couple of invoices, designed a disk label, admired Susy’s latest video project, and then, just as I was going to do some serious work on a project I’d been avoiding, You-know-who trapped me and handcuffed me to the computer. I couldn’t help myself. Where is Harry Potter when I need him?
It turned into an unproductive morning around here, but was it my fault? I just meant to surf around the Web for a few minutes while I had a cuppa. But, alas, an idle browse of the internet is the devil’s workshop, and I hold the evil Voldemort responsible for the squandered morning that followed.
I stumbled across what looked like an interesting experiment. You don’t even want to know how much time I spent today messing with it.
This is it. It’s called the Spinning Girl Illusion. Depending on how your brain sees it, she is either spinning clockwise (CW) or counter-clockwise (CCW). (This is an animated gif. If the dancer does not spin, it maybe because of a restriction in your browser. Try another browser, e.g. Firefox.)
If you’ve never seen the Spinning Girl illusion, here’s her story.
In the 1960s, a guy named Roger Sperry was investigating epilepsy and left/right brain neural connections at Yale University. A computer illusion was born out of his Yale project to test for ‘Left Brain’ or ‘Right Brain’ dominance. (The fact that women weren’t attending at Yale in those years may explain why the spinning girl is so curvaceous.)
Speech might be the most important left brain function. This left side also processes math and logic. The right brain is the locus for spatial awareness, imagination, fantasy, risk taking, etc. The left-brain vs. right-brain dominance is considered artibrary since most people have some of both.
Through the years, the spinning girl has turned into more of an optical illusion than a proof of whether the person viewing her is left-brained or right-brained. What’s interesting, though, is that whether you’re left or right-brained, the optical illusion may be one that your brain may be able to control in one way or another.
When I first started looking at the spinning girl, I could only see her spinning clockwise. I COULD NOT – repeat – COULD NOT get her to go the other way. I kept coming back to it during the day (also known as frittering away valuable time). I’m here to tell you that the practice of such magic is not easy for a Muggle. It finally worked, though. I can finally get her to turn on command, so-to-speak using different tricks. And without using my magic wand.
These are the most dependable methods I’m doing it. Look at the girl turning – either clockwise or counterwise depending on how she keeps appearing to you. Then look to the lower right outside her image on the opposite side of the screen from the way she’s turning. She should just be in the periphery of your vision. Out of the corner of your eye, you’ll see her change direction and she’ll start going the other way. She’ll keep turning that way till you make her stop.
Another trigger that works well for me is to stare at the shadow of her foot on the bottom of the screen. As I’m staring at it, she will turn and go the other way.
There’s tons of other tricks that may help. This is one of the websites that includes some (and there’s lots of others): http://goohackle.com/right-brain-vs-left-brain-survey-poll-mind-optical-illusion
If you’re only seeing her going one way, be patient. And keep trying. Pretty soon, maybe you, too, can squander your day on useless activity. But don’t blame me. You-know-who will be making you do it. Explain that to your boss.
It isn’t a question of whether the left brain rules, or the right brain rules. For some of us, let’s face it, insanity rules.
These are some interesting results from a poll:
Question: which way does the girl spin, clockwise or anti-clockwise?
- Dancer spins only clockwise: 33%
- Spins both ways, mostly clockwise: 32%
- Spins both ways about the same: 18%
- Dancer spins only anti-clockwise: 8%
- Spins both ways, mostly anti-clockwise: 8%
As Rumpelstiltskin might say, have fun spinning.