Friday, 12 October 2007


Another post about how our brains work. Poorly.

From News.Com:
The Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?
If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.

More discussion about this, and a justification of the hemispheric indicators at Fourouboros:

Well, maybe it depends on, ahem, what part of her anatomy we use for our initial, orienting observation. If we fix on the arc of her leg, we're not abso-positively sure of our conclusion, so we check against another part of her figure, say, her head--a universal constant supposedly. At that point of indecision, frame 19, her head appears at first glance (hah!) to be facing left. And the image proceeds to reveal nose, lips, etc. When I begin that way, counter-clockwise is easier to "see." But if you look at her head initially, which a large majority of us are wired to seek out, at least as a first step, the chances are very high that you'll perceive clockwise orientation until the brain is asked to categorize the image alongside other, more left-brain, additive, packeted info.

To me the most interesting thing is how heated some of the arguments get.

More on left/right hemispheres at Cognitive Daily.

And a curtsey to Dana Runs, a blog that I'm adding to my blogroll immediately.


Elizabeth Fong said...

My perspective on this (I can make the woman appear to me to be going in either direction, but cannot switch once I have fixated):

My brain, once it's locked onto which way she is going, cannot reverse that decision. However, if I look away and see the motion in my peripheral vision without details, it is much easier for me to choose which way the cyclic motion of her legs is going, and then retain that perception when I focus on the image.

Lloyd Flack said...

If I look at the whole figure then I see it rotating clockwise and I could not break myself out of this while looking at the whole figure. If I masked out the head I could make myself see it as rotating counter-clockwise and continued to do so even after the head was no longer masked. still it was easier and more natural to see it as rotating clockwise.

Anonymous said...

At first it was counterclockwise. By doig as Elizabeth suggests, I can see clockwise. Usually once I'm lookiing squarely at it, it stays going in whatever direction; but twice it spontaneously reversed from clock to anticlock as I was looking at it. Weird sensation, that.

Anonymous said...

I see it anticlockwise, but if I turn my head to ensure that I'm seeing it with the right visual field (left brain connected) it switches! Then when I again look at it straight on, there's a brief pause and then it switches back to anticlockwise. That IS fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh - she spins both ways! All I have to do is to look away just a little bit and as many times as not, she'll reverse direction. Strange.

Hildy said...

This morning it was clockwise only for me. I just had her spinning counter-clockwise, and she's now spinning clockwise again (which appears to be more natural to me). Could this have something to do with the fact that I'm left-eye dominant?

Funnily though, according to the post at Dana Runs, I "use feelings, are "big picture" oriented, use your imagination well, excel at philosophy & religion, can "get it" (i.e. meaning), and think in a fantasy-based manner". Not bad for an aspergic language nut who is most comfortable with ideas that can survive a doubleblind test. :)

Zoe Brain said...

Hildy, you're a woman after my own heart.

Parenthetically, Your name is associated in my mind with a John Varley story that came very close to making me "lose it" and start transition. This was long before the natural changes prodded me into that years later.

Never could figure out why - or how - she could switch to Boy mode afterwards though. I mean, why would you want to?

Hildy said...

You mean Steel Beach? Yeah, we have a shared interest there. I read it three times, it sounded like utopia. When I started coming out as transgendered online 'Hildy' made sense as a nickname, kinda appropriate for somebody feeling more or less stuck in the middle.

Now I can't read the book anymore though, because the first 1/3 or so is about this guy called Hildy who I totally cannot relate to. :)

Zoe Brain said...

Thought that might be the case. Call it Female Intuition. :)

Which is just another name for seeing widely-separated parts of a jigsaw puzzle, and guessing the pattern accurately.

After the fact it's easy to come up with a rationalisation: this blog attracts TS people and Geeks, SF fans and similar frea... unusual people. The name is not common, so it's no great stretch to see a connection with a novel dealing with both changing sex (though probably not gender) and SF themes.

But I didn't think of it that way, I just knew.

Calamity Jane said...

Only just spotted this. I see her turning clockwise - no way can I persuade my brain to see her going the other way. What is the significance of the right side of the brain then? I only ask because I'm either a geek or SF fan ... or a frea ... grin