A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors


Right, left, or bipolar?

Several friends have sent this image to me. Supposedly, the direction in which you see the dancer spinning reflects which side of your brain is dominant.

Apparentlymost people see the dancer rotating in a counterclockwise direction. When I first looked, Isaw her spinning clockwise. But with some effort--and it took a while--I was able to see the dancer rotatingcounterclockwise. What do you see, and can you make the switch?


Commenting Guidelines

How strange . . . when I opened the page it was definitely going counterclockwise, but when I looked again after reading the post it was going clockwise, and when I just logged in to make this post it had reversed again.Power of suggestion?

My take was exactly like your's Grant - she looked clockwise, then after I little work, I was able to see her counter-clockwise. Then it took a little more work to see her clockwise again :-)What about this, though: since we see her in silhouette, presumably she is backlit. The shadow pattern on the floor would only make sense, then, if she were were rotating clockwise.

Same here. First time counterclockwise, then three or four times clockwise, then another counterclockwise. I must just be crainiologically hopeless. Although I do wonder if it is a hoax, with a program designed for random direction.

All I have to do to get the image to change direction is to scroll it halfway off the screen.

I'm almost hopelessly clockwise. In order to change to counterclockwise, I have to say "Okay. She's standing on her right leg." It takes a while before I can make that switch.Grant, that means you and me are exactly the same.

Same experience as rest of you.In addition, if you wait long enough without scrolling, you will see the dancer changing direction.

Clockwise, clockwise, clockwise. I can see how it might switch if I stare at her out of the corner of my eye. But she always flips back. But I think the master stroke is Grant's finding an excuse to put naked (nude?) dancers on the blog. Bravo! I can't wait for the Commonweal mudflaps.

Here's a little test you can take to find out if you're right- or left-brained, for what it's worth. I fall EXACTLY on the line between both, so you'd think I'd be a perfectly balanced individual.However, what the test results revealed is that people like me (who are mercifully few and far between) are highly creative, but that gets quashed by their inner critic.So they end up accomplishing very little.Lucky me!But the woman's going clockwise. I can't see her going any other way. I think she's just wearing a body stocking and David Gibson has a dirty mind.

Sean: When you see her moving clockwise, I see her moving counterclockwise, and when you see her moving counterclockwise, I see her moving clockwise.Joe: I wondered if it was a hoax, but I had someone in my office looking over my shoulder and insisting she was moving only counterclockwise, while I kept seeing her changing directions.Grant: As this passes around our office, and out to friends at other offices, work all over America is grinding to a halt.

Kinda reminds me of the beginning of James Bond movies. I wonder if you would get as much interest in this if the dancer were a guy with a codpiece?

Joe, if you're taking a poll, yes.

After being momentarily transfixed by the loveliness of the dancer's form, what direction she appeared to me to be moving in depended on whether I looked directly at or indirectly. When looked at directly, she moved clockwise, when I glanced slightly down, she appeared to move counter-clockwise.For it's worth.

Actually, I do have a dirty mind, yes. I still want the mudflaps.Remarkably, she does turn into a gent with a codpiece once she starts spinning counter-clockwise. Just keep watching...

Clockwise, and with great effort, counterclockwise. Does this mean I can't be on "Dancing with the Stars"?

In case you want to see a real, live dancer do this (but in one direction only)

With great difficulty I can make her go counterclockwise but not reliably.

Without getting too complicated, the left side of the brain is the thinking or learning part while the right side is for habitual behavior. I saw it clockwise for a time. Then when I called my wife in she saw it clockwise also. Then I saw it counter, but it took my wife a few more seconds to notice it counter.

I am glad that David has the courage to admit to what I could only muster enough fortitude to allude to by way of an euphemism. I, too, want the mudflaps!

Clockwise.It's pretty easy to "switch it at will, though, which is strange!

OK. For me, it was definitely clockwise first, then counterclockwise for a while, then clockwise again. Which makes me suspicious. I can't seem to will it to go back in the other direction, it just seems to do so of its own accord after a while. That either makes this a big joke, or demonstrates that my brains is slow to shift gears!

Yeah, Mark, the same thing is NOW HAPPENING TO ME!!!Grant, stop playing with the spinning lady and get back to work. Or put up a spinning Liam Neeson.

Just to be clear, it is David Gibson who wants mudflaps. (I had to Google the word to find out what he was talking about.) And I was the David who brought up what Merriam-Webster Online said about whether "data" was singular or plural. However, Fr. Komonchak gave the credit to David Gibson in the introduction to the "Criterion, criterium, criteria, criterias?" string, thus denying me my 15 minutes of fame.

I don't get it. Wiki says a mudflap is "a man with a bald head with longer hair in the back. "

Oh, I've been hard at work for hours, Jean. An odd sense of calm has visited me now that I know I can see whatever direction I choose in the mysterious spinning dancer. Now I know what it's like to be a high-level Scientologist.

Grant, call up Tom Cruise on speed dial and ask him what I can make for supper that will only take 15 minutes because I've spent all my meal preparation time looking at Spinning Barbie who is now telling me that I should build a bunker in the backyard and ... ooops, Raber just drove up, so I guess it's take-outs. Maybe some of those Marie Callender pot pies ...

She is definitely going in a clockwise position. I consulted the "Cathechism" on this question, and it says the same. So I guess the discussion ends here. Correct?

Started clockwise. Moved to counterclockwise. Moved back to clockwise. My mind has a mind of its own.

Brigitte Bardot as she was?

David Nickol, just for the record, I set the record straight--and Father Komonchak--on that Latin solecism. Or whatever. I never take credit for the errors of others. I have enough of my own. If indeed you were in error.In any case, I've spent the last half hour in a sweat wondering if my hairdo would be considered a "mudflap" cut under Kathy's definition. Kathy, if you search "mudflap girl" in Wikipedia you'll see her. Or just go tailgate some semis out on the Interstate, like I do...

David Gibson,Sorry about your hair.Do you mean the mud flaps with yosemite sam or calvin or hobbes?Men, I'm sorry about male pattern baldness all around. It seems like it must be somewhat tough to go through and I don't think we ladies give you enough credit for dealing with this issue with relatively few abominable comb-overs. So keep up the good work, men.See, just a little respect.David N.--awesome video. Jean--you call him Raber?

Okay, I see nothing but clockwise.Nothing but clockwise.Nothing but clockwise.Nothing but clockwise . . . . . Oh, I give up. It's getting late, and I need to get to bed.But wait. I just clicked on the link to the Daily Telegraph piece and found that the description of those who see her going clockwise matched the way I like to think about myself--with the characteristics that I value the most (e.g., creative, big-picture, imagination, "gets it," fantasy based, etc.). Whether that's really true about me is a matter of great debate, mind you, but there it is.Now that I know this, I don't think I'll ever be able to force her to move counterclockwise. Now, is that the power of suggestion--or human pride?

BTW, Is any one going to the Votf conference in Providence this Friday the 19th? I am looking for someone to car pool with. Clockwise or counter clockwise.

Hmm.When I open the browser I see only the top half of the picture. Obviously, counterclockwise.Once I scroll down and see the whole picture, obviously, clockwise.Maybe Jim Pauwels is on to something. I think my brain is trying to relate the dancer with the shadows on the floor and can basically only make them work if the dancer spins clockwise. And funnily, I think that my right-brained way of seeing things is more logical. In the counterclockwise scenario, wouldn't her lifted foot's shadow pass behind the stationary foot's?Or is it because I'm right-brained that I even care about the shadows?

My trick was initially to focus on the shadow and move up from there--that's what got the image to appear to be spinning counterclockwise. But now I see it both ways without thinking about it. Strange sensation.

I viewed this lady spinning exactly opposite of Sean Hannaway. I originally saw her spinning clockwise, then after reading the description below and looking back up, she went counterclockwise. She continues to go counter-clockwise each time I look, no matter how hard I try to see it the way I first saw it.

Fascinating. . .I saw one revolution of counterclockwise, but only when I clicked on the Daily Telegraph link, where the dancer appears on the right side of the page. Then, she went back to clockwise.Grant's strategy of starting with the shadow and moving up didn't help, either.Then, I read the description of left- vs. right-brain attributes again, and as I was reading, she shifted to counter-clockwise for only a moment. As soon as I focused on her again, she went the other way. And just won't go back no matter how much I try to coax her around.Must mean I'm stubborn and inflexible, no? Or perhaps a hopeless romantic? Or just optical illusion-challenged.

My kid has ADD. He says, (and I'm not making this up), "She's spinning clockwise, no! counterclockwise! no, clockwise! no! counter ... can I have a granola bar?"

I couldn't see counterclockwise till I focused on her legs. Does that mean leg-men have one half-brain dominance and other men the other?I tried to see her going side to side, not spinning, but that didn't work.

In the seminary the psycology professor put a picture of a women's torso in the board and asked us what we saw. All of us deliberately said it was something else.

I was paying particular attention to her feet.Does this mean I have a foot-fetish?

Whether clockwise or counter-clockwise, the figure still has female breasts.

She also has a pony-tail and very nice posture and balance, and I wish you fellas would quit leering at her like she was some kind of pole dancer.The trick to making her go side-to-side is to watch the extended leg. Make your eye move in the opposite direction of the leg and she will switch directions, and go back and forth.

Jean, I think you lack a certain Niebuhrian Realism about Man's (and I use that in an exclusive, gendered sense) fallen nature. Or at least my fallen nature. Which is coming to resemble aspects of my physique.