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Posts Tagged ‘left brain dominance’

It’s all in the spin

Monday, January 21st, 2008

“Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul
Nor beauty born out of its own despair
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil
O Chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance
How can we tell the dancer from the dance?”
William Butler Yeats

Which way is the dancer turning? Clockwise or anticlockwise?

According to the Perth News site which this image originally appeared on, if you see her spinning anticlockwise then you tend to have your left brain functions predominating. A clockwise spin indicates more of a right brain dominance.

Spinning dancer

The left side of the brain is associated with processing that is logical, detailed, factual, practical, reasoned, linear, sequential and expressed in language. It controls the right (L. dexter) side of the body. The right side deals more with processing that is intuitive, non-verbal, imaginary, holistic, random, symbolic, relational, philosophical, and spatial, controlling the left, (L. sinister) side of the body.

Rather than being any indication of brain functioning dominance however, logic would say this is just a simple, though very nicely executed, optical illusion which calls on the same image and spatial interpretation functions in the brain regardless of which way we see the dancer turning. The image has been doing the rounds for a few months now. Most people responding in comment sections seem able to make the dancer change direction at will after a bit of practice, and most seem to see her rotating clockwise initially.

What I find more interesting than any putative brain dominance diagnosis is the number of comments from people utterly convinced the dancer’s change in direction is programmed into the image file and that the whole thing is a fraud. It’s not – it’s just a 34-frame animated gif which cycles through the images (anticlockwise) in a continuous loop – but it shows very nicely the extent to which we’re willing to believe reality is “out there” rather than constructed in our heads.

(Occasional stutters in the image rendering can be sufficient to break the illusion and ’cause’ the dancer to ‘change direction’, but it’s all in the brain.)

“All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward internal dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.”
H P Lovecraft



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Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard