NTNUJAVA Virtual Physics Laboratory
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Knowledge and practice are one. ..."Wang Yang Ming (1472-1529, Chinese Philosopher) "
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Author Topic: Left Brain – Right brain and the Spinning Girl  (Read 7617 times)
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Fu-Kwun Hwang
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on: January 04, 2011, 07:54:08 am » posted from:Taipei,T'ai-pei,Taiwan

Extracted from:http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=27


Take a look at the spinning girl below. Do you see it spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise? I see it spinning counter-clockwise, and I had a hard time getting it to switch direction. Give it a try.


These kinds of optical illusions are always fun. What they reveal is how our brain processes visual information in order to create a visual model of the world. The visual system evolved to make certain assumptions that are almost always right (like, if something is smaller is it likely farther away). But these assumptions can be exploited to created a false visual construction, or an optical illusion.
The spinning girl is a form of the more general spinning silhouette illusion. The image is not objectively “spinning” in one direction or the other. It is a two-dimensional image that is simply shifting back and forth. But our brains did not evolve to interpret two-dimensional representations of the world but the actual three-dimensional world. So our visual processing assumes we are looking at a 3-D image and is uses clues to interpret it as such. Or, without adequate clues it may just arbitrarily decide a best fit – spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. And once this fit is chosen, the illusion is complete – we see a 3-D spinning image.
By looking around the image, focusing on the shadow or some other part, you may force your visual system to reconstruct the image and it may choose the opposite direction, and suddenly the image will spin in the opposite direction.
The following is the same gif image displayed as a EJS created java simulation.
You can click the check box to watch how image change step by step and find out what really happened!

Embed a running copy of this simulation

Embed a running copy link(show simulation in a popuped window)
Full screen applet or Problem viewing java?Add http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/ to exception site list
Press the Alt key and the left mouse button to drag the applet off the browser and onto the desktop. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Taiwan License
  • Please feel free to post your ideas about how to use the simulation for better teaching and learning.
  • Post questions to be asked to help students to think, to explore.
  • Upload worksheets as attached files to share with more users.
Let's work together. We can help more users understand physics conceptually and enjoy the fun of learning physics!


Actually, the above image is a combination of the following two images.


Clockwise imageCounterclockwise image

The following flash animation let you play the image step by step,too!
Can you find out what is really going on!


* spinning.gif (204.02 KB, 300x400 - viewed 1816 times.)
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