Scientific Basis of the Spinning Silhouette Optical Illusion

Remember the optical illusion of the spinning silhouette which spins clockwise or counterclockwise? Popular e-quizzes claim that your perception of which way the silhouette spins is indicative of whether you're left- or right-brained. Well, leave it to scientists to bust that myth:

Niko Troje says that a reported preference for seeing the silhouette spinning clockwise rather than counter-clockwise is dependent upon the angle at which the viewer is seeing the image. [...]

Dr. Troje and his team found that a view-from-above bias (VFA) is what makes the viewer prone to seeing the silhouette in a certain way, not one's personality or whether the viewer is left- or right-brained. When shown the silhouette illusion, the study's 24 participants most often reported that the woman was spinning counter-clockwise if viewed from above, and clockwise if viewed from below. Thus, the viewing angle causes the difference in perception.

Hit play or go to Link [YouTube] | Article at Science Daily | Niko Troje's website


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You don't need to trust the study, you can test it easily for yourself. Just sit on the floor in front of the computer so you have to look up at the monitor, and play the video, note which direction they're spinning. Try again when you're standing and looking down at the monitor. For me it really does reliably flip them. Well done science.
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I'm glad this is being cleared up. The whole left vs. right brain thing is a ridiculous pop psychology claim with no basis in research or fact. Even if there was such a thing, how on earth would the direction that you perceive the lady to be rotating be able to offer any indication of whether you are right or left brained?
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Ahh, so that makes sense now why this is so popular for those garbage ads trying to get you to guess which way it's spinning. Didn't know about the whole detail of this experiment.
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