Which Way Do You Spin… Left Brain or Right Brain?

Left Brain or Right?

Which way is the dancer spinning… clockwise or counter-clockwise?

Most people will see her turning counter-clockwise, which apparently means you’re more left brained (logical). I see her spinning that way, and it’s at first almost impossible to imagine her going clockwise. But it happens, usually by focusing or when something unexpectedly alters your perception.

Here’s the typical run down on left versus right brain:

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe

RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

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

Many people associate the right brain with creativity and lateral thinking, and there’s certainly something to that. Our left brains create structures that can act as barriers to alternative solutions and perspectives.

But your left brain plays a crucial role in creativity as well. Seeing logical associations between seemingly unrelated things is a hallmark of creativity. And the critical-thinking skills necessary to tell a good idea from a bad one are pretty important too.

So… tell us which way your dancer spins for you in the comments. And weigh in with your opinion about the right brain versus left brain for creativity… isn’t it a really a “whole mind” thing?

P.S. Want to know how this optical illusion works? Read this.

About the Author: Brian Clark is a new media entrepreneur and co-founder of Lateral Action. Subscribe today to get free updates by email or RSS.

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  1. Clockwise as seen from above is counterclockwise as seen from underneath, and vice-versa… The distinction should be made before assuming that you’re seeing her spin clockwise or counterclockwise.

    I usually see her spin counterclockwise ass seen from above, but I can make her change directions if I force myself to think she’s spinning the other way, especially if I squint or close my eyes for a second.

    • We are seeing her from front on though. Optical illusions are something that we can all make change once we see it, the question is about which do you perceive first. This identifies your preference.

      • The distinction between clockwise and counterclockwise should then be made. Otherwise, how can anyone specify in which direction she is seen spinning?… If I say that I see her spinning clockwise from an overhead reference, it could be said that I see her spin counterclockwise from underneath.

        • As Wikipedia states, clockwise or counterclockwise would be considered as a SEEN FROM ABOVE perspective

          • this is an optical illusion which tests your perception, which is what your brain tells you that you are seeing. therefore in this test, your brain (if you have one) tells you that you are seeing the woman turn clockwise or counter-clockwise. If the test told you to look from above there would be no illusion. Wikipedia or not.

        • What if I saw her clockwise at first glance then immediately she changed to counterclockwise then back? Within a few seconds she keeps changing directions. Crazy illusion though. When she is clockwise its hard to imagine I would see her any other way then she just flips after 5 or 6 seconds and its hard to think of her going clockwise.

    • all I can see is her spinning clockwise. I tried to see her spinning counterclock wise but I could not.

      • Exactly !

      • Frances Halpern says:

        I can only see her spinning clockwise
        I have even come back to it two hours later and she is still spinning clockwise
        I tried to make her spin the other way by squinting etc but not happening
        However I do fit the descriptive for right brain!!! Totally!!!!!

    • I can make her go what ever way I want her to go. When I first looked at her, she was spinning clockwise, but then I started watching her shadow and instantly she starts spinning counterclockwise. Is that normal, I hope so because that is what I see.

    • I first saw it clearly clockwise then stared at it and it went counter clockwise, then back again and again. Are we sure this thing is not set up to do that. I have made an effort over the decades to force right and left brain skills even when I do not like them. Taken art, physics, calculus, music, computers and I write. So maybe I can go back and forth when necessary.

      • teri odegaard says:

        I don’t see the dancer move at all. Doesn’t matter if I focus hard or just let my eyes blur. I have used my left and right brain together for a long time. I don’t even remember when it happened. I can write with both hands. When I use my left hand to write it has a right hand slant; most anything I do left handed is how it should be done right handed. The same goes for using my right hand for anything.

    • She changes direction by herself. what a stupid thing this is

      • Kevin West says:

        It is an animated giff. Download it and you can see it goes in one direction. It is your brain that changes the direction.

      • adam> agree with you

      • try watching it with someone else – I watched with my daughter and I saw clockwise all the time and she saw it changing direction every few moments

        we both saw different things at the same time

        I have always seen it move clockwise until I performed a simple but logical computer task then immediately looked at the image and for the first time saw it move counter clockwise

  2. I am a right brain thinker, living in a world of left brain. I am wondering,if we using too much right Brain to solve or interact the society, am I going to be an out cast?

    • i see her spinning clockwise until I came down here and learnt that staring for two mins can change the direction. But, I am logic minded, not overpowered by emotions and most importantly, I suck at arts (visual mostly)…..

  3. I see her spinning clockwise, and that makes me right-brained according to the test. But I have lots of left-brain tendencies too. I think it is a whole-brain thing, but we are definitely on a continuum.

  4. what the— at first it was completely counter-clockwise..then I read your article and glanced up back to the spinning woman,..and it completely reversed~..it was freaky..and creepy.. and did the same, and it turned counter clockwise again..What does this mean?? just so quick..

  5. if you all stare at it for 2 minutes without moving your eyes, you will know that it changes by itself. It doesn’t change just cause you moved your eyes or anything. This has nothing to do with which way you see it spinning cause it spins both ways. This does not prove which side of the brain you use more. All this proves is how terrible our attention spans are that we can’t even stare and focus on something for up to 2 minutes.

    • wrong, by focusing and attempting to change it I just had it changing every 8-10 seconds. I’ve also asked my girl friend to look at it at the same time and it rotates a different direction for her.

  6. that is the definition of perception

    • Ozzy, if you stare at the picture for up to 2 minutes and watch it change then it’s logic. Not perception. If however, you don’t see a change until you move your head or blink or anything at all, then I’ll agree with you that it’s perception.

  7. For a few seconds it was counter clockwise and then she appeared to change direction before my eyes and carried on clockwise for the rest of the time. I am very right brained, left handed (I believe these go together) but don’t know how conclusive this test is. By the way, I found as a woman my creativity dropped enormously at the end of the menopause – I felt a different person due to this – so now concentrate on teaching. Has there ever been a study about oestrogen affecting creativity? Its alarming when it happens, which I despaired over at the time.

  8. man, when i see that it is totally spinning clockwise!!!!! like i dont get how people dont see that lol BUT if i focus long enough i CAN see if spinning counter. but if i close my eyes and open them again she is totally spinning clockwise. her foot, her arm is turning clockwise!!!

  9. At first she spun clockwise then after reading she started spinning counter clockwise. So I left the site, then came back and again she was spinning clockwise. With out reading I stared at her a little longer then she changed again. So then I continued reading periodically looking at her, and she continued to shift back and forth from clockwise to counter clockwise. Then I followed the link on how it worked. Both pictures continually shifted. Some times both went clockwise some times both went counter clockwise, some times they rotated opposite each other. I’ve taken two other brain domainence tests and this continues to confirm “middle brain”.

  10. Wow! That is so cool! I thought “of course, she’s spinning clockwise…how could anyone see it any other way”. I tried to see it counter-clockwise but could not. I see why! lol. I’m definitely a right-brained, thinking girl! :)

  11. Shelley Carter says:

    WOW ! I looked at the dancer and then I read the question. Hmmmm I was seeing her spin counter-clockwise, but I was sure before I started to read I saw her spin clockwise as well ! So I experimented, by focusing on one side of my brain and looking at the dancer and then looking away and then back and I could actually see her spin either way, by doing this !!! Incredible :) Try it. I would love to know if it worked for others. Concentrate with the left side of your brain and look at the dancer, look away and then back and she will spin clockwise. Now, concentrate with the right side of your brain and look at the dancer, look away and then back and she will spin counter clockwise.

  12. Loads of people think that right brained people are ‘dumb’ which is not true. I am actually an intelligent person, but I’m also creative and spontaneous. I use my logic when I need to and I use my creativity when I need to. I wouldn’t use my logic in an Art class but when I have a Mathematics class I use my logic. I like to think I use both sides of my brain.

  13. I often have thought as an artist I am very logical too and both sides of my brain are working together. I actually had a College Art Teacher announce to the class that….”You probably are in this class because you aren’t very good at anything else, for instance math”. How demeaning is that? I have read articles that say having an artist’s ability is being looked at as a form of intelligence.

    For me the dancer will turn anytime I look slightly away. In fact, I can make it turn 1/2 rotation one way then the other. Also, I was leaning towards left hand and my parents made me use my right hand. I use both hands equally, except for writing only with the (R) hand. My husband can only see the figure turn clockwise. At first I didn’t think the figure would rotate the other way and it surprised me when it did!

    Once I took a aptitude test and I scored off the charts in spatial reasoning (right side brain) which at the time I had to look up the difinition of spatial reasoning. The test giver said in 20 years he had never seen such a high score, (I would have made a great aviation controller) not only did I complete the timed test (which was designed to leave about 1/2 unfinished) but got almost 100% accuracy. I didn’t care for math when I was in HS, but later in college I scored top of the class in Statistical Math, (left side brained) with the instructor saying he would give me a score higher than 4.0 if he could.

    Both sides of the brain are needed to see the full picture. If one side of the brain can understand the words in a sentence, the other side figures out the intent, the emotion, the sometimes hidden meaning the “tone”. Some of the most brilliant scientist and inventors called on intutive reasoning. With out our right side brain we would be robot like, sterile, and just pretty darn boring!

  14. tim austin says:

    This isnt a good test for anything.. the silhouette spins one way for 5 seconds then switches the other way for 5 seconds, so everyone thinks its their “brain”doing it..its a scam, your brain isnt doing anything. Its the stupid website being deceitful. Lame

  15. I saw her spinning clockwise…. She goes to the left which is clockwise.

    • what clocks are you looking at?

      to the left is counter or anti clockwise

      to the right is clockwise – the way the clock moves throughout the day

  16. I saw her spinning both ways though…

    • Jerre Levy says:

      Then your brain is functioning normally. When one perception fatigues the correlated brain pattern, the alternative perception emerges, until it fatigues its correlated brain pattern. For those who see the figure spinning only in one direction, there is evidently an unconscious inhibitory process that prevents the alternate perception from emerging.

  17. Agh – She jumps back and forth……

  18. I can only see her clockwise. I’m a doc and do great with patients but people at work I don’t understand and I may loose my career I want help now!! Is there any?

  19. indranil says:

    hey friends the girl is rotating clockwise always and if i concentrate too hard she stops for moments i dont know why ??

  20. Randall McKay says:

    Interesting article. I wanted to suggest that a person does not use exclusively one side of the brain or the other. In fact, it is a choice; albeit a very deep and subconscious one. From birth we are influenced by our mother, and father, and those around us to respond in certain ways to life. Sometimes it is through creative, more open ways that we measure the world, in others, it is more logical and linear. Thus, the brain develops over time to use parts of the brain more readily than other parts. It is used to getting by with using a certain brain pattern. But, it IS possible to change the hemisphere of thought, on purpose. A very creative person might run into a writer’s block, or a painter might be lacking perspective, but this is not due to missing creativity, it is due to a different part of the brain has picked up the slack where the creative juices used to flow from. The creative brain might be tired, or simply lazy; who knows, but the creative possibilities still exist with in the artists brain…for life.
    Of course, these ideas are all relative, and associated closely with what psychologists and biologists have already been aware of for years, there is one subtle difference–we, that is You, have the power to control which parts of the brain you want to utilize, merely by thinking about it. In fact, you already are in control. Even as you read this comment, different parts of your brain are chiming in all the time. Now, take control of your mind, and watch just how creative you can be, how logical you think, and how well you can enjoy life. Thanks for reading.

  21. Francois says:

    if you look at her from below, it would seem she is counter clockwise, if you look from above its clockwise

  22. I always spin one way and then the other and back and forth so as to stay in balance. As far as the dancer it is up to where you place you point of focus, from above or below.

  23. As far as I know I am globally cross-lateral, When I view it, the dancer changes direction every 20-40 seconds or so, especially when reading.

  24. In my mind, her shadow clearly demonstrates that she is spinning counter-clockwise but that still doesn’t stop me from seeing her spin clockwise. Unless I block out the shadow, it hurts my brain to see her spin clockwise.

  25. It’s spinning clockwise at first, but after I read a bit of the text and I look up, it’s spinning counter-clockwise! Freakish! haha… Although I know that I’m a left-right brain person.

  26. I think it’s about perception, I don’t necessarily believe in the whole left-brain/right-brain thing. I personally see the dancer mostly going clockwise, sometimes it changes but overall I see it clockwise.

    • I initially saw her spinning clockwise. If I blink rapidly I can change my perception of the direction at will. My 8 year old son can too.

  27. Victoria says:

    Mine keeps changing back and forth every five seconds. It initially started counter clockwise, but if I slightly focus on her hips or here raised foot I can make it alternate within three seconds. It doesn’t stay on either side that long. Just back and forth.

  28. I see her turning with the clock which apparently means I’m more “right brained”. Does it means I’m more creative than logical? Cause I’ve been told I’m both. But now I’m curious.

    Someone explain it to me! :)

  29. I can see both directions. Sometimes she spins counter clockwise and sometimes she spins clockwise.

  30. If you watch the shadow, the hand always moves from right to left indicating a clockwise spin.

  31. Both ways, it’s not hard to make her switch but at the beginning it was clockwise :-)

  32. The organised activities of an artist or poet is a strict manipulation of his or her right brain faculty. The right brain holds the power of creativity

  33. i can only see her spinning clockwise; no matter how much I try blinking or changing perspective.

  34. Definitely clockwise. Glad we could settle that.

  35. CW. I didn’t know about this before I invested eight years into a Nuclear Physics PhD. Dam! (Yes , I meant to misspell it).

  36. You do realize that the correlation between the direction in which way the lady spins and the more dominant hemisphere of the brain is only anecdotal speculation right? Just thought I’d disabuse that for you before it gets out of hand.

  37. I can make it spin any way I want while looking at it XD

  38. So….what does it mean If you see the spinning both clockwise and counter clockwise?

  39. I seem to be able to make her go both ways, but not in a controlled way.

    (Shame she is a silhouette she seems very nicely assembled!)

  40. Teresa Williams says:

    I saw her spinning clockwise.

  41. Kelvin Peralta says:

    Clockwise.

  42. She started out counter clockwise and soon turned clockwise. Darn chick is making me crazy
    . Lol

  43. Mimi Arisato says:

    Well actually when i first saw it i thought it was going counter-clockwise, but then my brain immediately saw that it was also going clockwise, i mean less than a second after i thought it was going counter-clockwise i thought it was going clockwise. Okay i’m getting a bit confused, i took a lot of tests about this but apparently 2 tests including this said left-brained, the other 2 said right… I’m confused O_O okay thanks

  44. I see her turning clockwise, and it’s almost impossible to me imagine her spinning counter-clockwise. So I’m right brained (creative)? I’m very good at drawing & I have a strong spatial perception. But I’am a engineering student, and good at science mathematics too. But indeed I prefer creative & “big picture” orienteded point of view for solve engineering & mathematics problems. I think that a more creative style seems more like me.

  45. Paola Musante says:

    I only saw clockwise….looked different ways….I always thought I was more left brained being that I’m very detail oriented….logical… good at math…..but the right brain description fits me very well….I’m going to try this on my twins…..one is right handed….one is a lefty……..but I imagine alternately or simultaneously we use both sides…..?

  46. i seen it as spinning clockwise, but i started reading below and then it changed. i tried to see it clockwise again and could not. Then I reloaded the page and it was spinning clockwise again!
    Does that mean anything, and if so, what?

  47. I see her as clock wise. I just did a left brain right brain rest and it said I was 13% left 87% right…..what’s this all mean

    • Well if you see her going clock wise that’s supposed to mean you are more right brain dominant. Left brain thinkers are more logical and Right brain are said to be more intuitive. The weird thing is, I’ve taken several tests that say I am more left brain but I can see the dancer spin in both directions…. clockwise and counter-clockwise… its driving me nuts lol.

  48. Juliette Hamner says:

    I am able to make her go both ways, all I have to do is focus on her standing leg, she then switches. JMH

    • Yeah I know, I am able to make her go both ways too. I’ve taken like 4 or 5 tests that all say I am more left brain dominant but this one test was really close to being in the middle. I don’t know maybe if I concentrate hard enough I am more of both but typically I am more of a logical thinker. I use logic with pretty much everything.

  49. I’m seeing only the clockwise rotation. That said, I’m surprised to hear that would indicate right brain. That doesn’t seem to apply to me but I’m willing to consider. Thanks.

  50. When I first watched it, I saw it running clockwise, I go to Google it to see what other sites said about this test and watched it on another site, this so called “test” is not a test at all, its an illusion. When I watched the other sites dancer it switched from clock to counter-clock. I just did not watch it long enough here to see the switch. You know the whole issue getting people worked up with these tests on which side of the brain they use the most is just wrong. It does not matter, as long as you are using your brain at all, that is what is real. I am not saying that tests are not important, it is tests like this one used in the wrong context that have no value or evaluation on human intelligence. This test is useless and pointless.

    • But FUN! LOL

    • Anonymous says:

      The illusion switches EVERY TURN meaning If you watched it for more than a second with the same turn that is your result. If it switches back and forth or you can make it do so than you are more evenly minded.

  51. She’s Spinning clockwise. what you need to do is imagine her back face you that will give you her true direction whic is clockwise. or imaging yourself facing someone and spinning the same direction as her. in this what appear to be her left arm is actually her right, and her right is actually her left. try to vizualize it xD i probably sound like an idiot but that’s how i see xD

  52. Both sides at almost the same time. Am I special?

  53. When I focus on the heel touching the ground I can easily alter which direction the form is turning.

  54. I see the dancer spinning clockwise only; no matter how much I want to see her change direction, I do not. My husband, daughter and !I watched it together. They see her go counter but not at the same time.. my husband sees her change at to.es my daughter doesn’t . What up with that? Me-I still have never seen her change. My husband says he changes her at will because he controls his own mind. I think he’s full of it!

  55. I can get her to spin both ways. Its really easy..

  56. Saw her spinning clockwise. It took me a few minutes to look at the foot and control clock versus counterclockwise.

  57. Clockwise

  58. Hahaha……..so much fun! It is fun seeing what you can make her do. Once I mastered changing her direction most of the time, I moved on. Now I can get her to move in a quarter circle if I only look at her lower legs and the shadow. Then i can switch back to full circles. Until then, I thought that maybe she switched on her own too. But nope…..I don’t thing she gets stuck on a repeat quarter circle….lol. So interesting

  59. Paola Musante says:

    I can only see her spinning clockwise. It’s driving me nuts because I always thought I eas very left brained. What’s bugging me is I’ve looked and looked….for several minutes…a couple times….but nope. Interestingly if I turn the image upside down I can see counterclockwise …I thought it was because of viewing it backwards in a sense…but upside down I could see both ways. I have no idea what this means…I’ll try again some other time …wow! I wasn’t able to view how the illusion works…the page was unavailable. Have fun guys n gals!

  60. Dorkurider says:

    Dude she’s going counter-clockwise, how the hell do you see her move clockwise, this is a joke.

  61. I can only see it moving clockwise.

  62. Predominately right brained but quickly followed by left. I saw clockwise first then immediately after looking away and back again counter clockwise. Which makes sense.

  63. This was weird, at first glance she was spinning right, then she switched and started sinning left, so i watched a little longer waiting for her to spin right again and she did after a couple of mins…. guess this means, im left and right brain? Lol

  64. I see her spinning one way and the. The other and then back again-
    What does that mean?

  65. David Brown says:

    I just figured out that I can make her spin which ever way I want her to spin. It’s all an illusion but when the body turns in the leg disappears behind the body I imagine that I don’t see the leg disappear behind the body and then it starts to look like she never spins but move from right to left. You can follow which ever direction you want.

  66. Elise Chang says:

    Ohhh, she’s a tricky bitch! At first I thought clockwise, then I looked again and noticed that she switches! After I couldn’t replicate the feet experiment reliably, I opened up the gif with picasion and found that from frames 13 to 30 (just like the movie!), she switches positions and goes counter-clockwise! Then she goes clockwise again from frames 31 to 33 and the gif loops back smoothly.

    The fact that she’s a silhouette (so you can’t scan any lines on her body for visual clues) is crucial to this illusion. Assumption is the mother of all mistakes, yup yup. ^-^ Everytime I have a strong belief in an “amazing fact”, I always go back to check them, so I know I am not wrong.

  67. This test is weird…It is just a lady spinning around and around. Makes my head spin…

  68. Anonymous says:

    I can make her change directions. Initially she turned clockwise. When I crossed my I and focused she was spinning differently in each of my eyes perspectives.

  69. FROM MY POINT OF VIEW SHE IS SPINNING CLOCKWISE.

  70. Orionius says:

    Listen, it is not about how you can manipulate the gif to make it go whichever way you wish. It is about what you see upon your initial glance. When you do realize what direction it is going, do not jump into extremes. This test is not saying you only use one side of your brain. It would be illogical to think such. What it is saying though, is that in times when you are relaxed, or unaware, you tend to use rely on that particular side for processing.

    Of course when you are aware of the inconsistency in the gif, you are able to manipulate it at will. It’s a talent all humans possess. What to look for is the initial direction. When I view the gif, I see it moving clockwise. Once I figure out how to manipulate the gif, I can, at will, make it go counter-clockwise.

    But no matter how hard I try, when I let go of that awareness, and review the image, I will always see it, upon first glance, as going clockwise.

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