the newspaper article makes the claim that if you look at the image and the dancer is spinning anti-clockwise, you use your left side of your brain more and clock wise if you use the right side.

Is there any evidence to suggest this is true?

PS - for me, it's constantly switching although i did see it anti-clockwise first

  • 1
    The switching is easiest to obtain when you put a hand over the upper torso of the woman to hide her. Then you see that nothing is rotation; instead, the leg is swinging back and forth within the same plane, allowing it to be interpreted as either left and right rotating. I doubt that brain-lateralization plays into it, but I cannot prove it (yet).
    – Lagerbaer
    Apr 12, 2011 at 3:18
  • Just a quick note on this: For me, it turns clockwise "by default". That is supposed to mean that I'm right-brained and use feeling and not logic, which is completely false. QED? :-) Apr 12, 2011 at 7:47
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    You might have a look at my answer to a similar question : Left Brain/Right Brain is a myth.
    – Rusty
    Apr 12, 2011 at 8:00
  • i agree with lennart, it's totally false for me as well
    – Terry
    Apr 12, 2011 at 10:48
  • If I focus on her waist I can see the top and bottom spinning different directions. Ultimate Brain? haha.
    – cthom06
    Apr 13, 2011 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


I used to visit the link above a couple of times. Each time, the initial direction of spinning was different. The reason is that the image is, in reality, a 2D image shifting back and forth. According to this source, our brain has not evolved to deal with 2D images, so it takes clues from the image to reconstruct a 3D model. This happens in the Visual Cortex. It will scramble along and try to make sense of what it sees. Either direction of rotation works, so whatever is found first, it will stick. Unless you refocus and give your visual cortex a chance to come to a different conclusion.

Here a quote from the source:

This news article, like many others, ignores the true source of this optical illusion and instead claims it is a quick test to see if you use more of your right brain or left brain. This is utter nonsense, but the “right-brain/left brain” thing is in the public consciousness and won’t be going away anytime soon. Sure, we have two hemispheres that operate fine independently and have different abilities, but they are massively interconnected and work together as a seamless whole (providing you have never had surgery to cut your corpus callosum).

We also do have hemispheric dominance, but that determines mostly your handedness and the probability of language being on the right or the left. There is also often asymmetry for memory, with some being right or left hemisphere dominant. But none of this means that your personality or abilities are more right brain or left brain. That much is nonsense.

Further, how your visual cortex constructs this optical illusion says nothing about your hemispheric dominance, and is absolutely not a quick personality profile.

EDIT: I just found this image: It allows immediate switching by looking at either the left or the right instance. Lines indicating the perceived rotation

  • Not very scientific here, but I saw the dancer turning clockwise, but my personality traits are found in the counter-clockwise list. I am so notorious for being most of the characteristics found in the "left brain functions" list that many believe I'm some sort of human/robot hybrid.
    – Michael
    Apr 17, 2011 at 10:12
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    I would be interested to see how it is interpreted by patients who have undergone a corpus callostomy (surgery to sever the connection between brain hemispheres). Apr 19, 2011 at 2:55
  • I know too little about the way the visual cortex works, sorry.
    – Lagerbaer
    Apr 19, 2011 at 3:42
  • @Monkey, that would be very interesting indeed.
    – logicbird
    Apr 21, 2011 at 9:28
  • creepy eerie "image"... some times the 3 look the same, rather than 2x1.
    – cregox
    Apr 27, 2011 at 16:14

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