Monday, October 15, 2007

Right brain versus left brain

Scientific breakthrough! My sister Anne sent me this fascinating demo, which she found in an Australian newspaper. In the following image, do you see the lady spinning in a clockwise or an anticlockwise sense?

Apparently, if you see her spinning clockwise, then you use predominantly the right-hand side of your brain. [This is the case for my sister and me.] But, if you see her spinning anticlockwise, then you use predominantly the left-hand side of your brain. [If the lady is not yet spinning at all, this simply means that you've got a low-quality Internet connection... not necessarily to be confused with a low-quality brain. Wait a while to see if things start moving. If not, consult a specialist of one kind or another.] Reputed scientific journals often refer to left-hand-sided humans as "queer" or "disoriented"... but it appears that further medical research needs to be carried out in this domain before we can definitely refer to these unfortunate folk as... sick, to call a spade a spade.

If you make a certain "mental effort" [a free-will action that's hard to define, requiring great cerebral concentration], you might in fact find that the lady suddenly starts spinning in the opposite direction... but she quickly returns to the direction that's most natural for you, which corresponds most truly to your innate brain structure.

PS: I was wondering, for a moment, whether the sense in which the lady is spinning might depend on whether your computer is located in the northern or the southern hemisphere. I'm referring, as you can guess, to that weird affair about the direction in which water swirls down into the plughole of your bath tub... with its freaky corollary about the way that people having a bath on the Equator see their dirty water literally dropping down vertically through the plughole like a stone. At a quite different level, a troubling metaphysical question has crossed my mind: If God exists, then does He use predominantly the right-hand or the left-hand side of His brain? [After all, it would be nice to be on the same wavelength as Him in matters of this kind. N'est-ce pas?] Finally, it goes without saying that I would be terribly disappointed if I were to learn that there might be some kind of a conspiracy theory behind this demo, and that this delightful animation of a spinning big-breasted female silhouette might be nothing more than a series of still images, running in a loop, that have been drawn and arranged in such a way that the spinning lady does in fact change directions from time to time. [The file in question is referred to in computing jargon as an animated GIF. You can download it instantly and then examine it calmly, image by image.]


  1. I discovered this demo this summer and sent it to some friends: most of them don't see that she suddenly turns in the opposite direction...

    As far as I'm concerned, she starts spinning clockwise, then continues anticlockwise for a short moment and comes back to her initial direction.

    How am I supposed to interpret this result???

    The left brain processes written and spoken information. It's logical, rational, sequential, verbal and textual.
    The right brain, on the other hand, interprets information intuitively, visually, creatively and emotionally.


    So, am I logical or emotional?

  2. Voyant que plusieurs lecteurs du blog prennent toujours au sérieux cette démo, je viens de publier une explication des « ficelles » de cette plaisanterie. Pour décortiquer le fichier GIF animé, afin d'examiner ses 34 images fixes, je me suis servi de l'outil Fireworks.