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Optical illusion: the spinning girl

Here's an optical illusion that's making its way around the net and has now become my very favorite illusion. Look at the animated gif below. What direction is the girl spinning in, clockwise or counterclockwise? Can you make her change directions with your mind? Can you see her spinning either clockwise or counterclockwise at will? What is going on?

Spinning girl optical illusion

I don't know who to credit since there are lots of copies of this image around. The first one I found was here.  That web-site and a number of others you can find via this Google search claim that this is a right brain vs. left brain test but not everyone agrees about what is going on here. You can read more about lateralization of the brain (the functions of the two sides of the brain) in this Wikipedia article.

If you like optical illusions, check out Might Optical Illusions, a pretty comprehensive collection of such things in a blog format. This site even has an Optical Illusion of The Day Widget so say can effortlessly get your daily fix.

Comments (67) Trackbacks (3)
  1. In the answers i need more details and explanation.

  2. I dont get it doesnt relly do nothing all it does is spin around.

  3. The figure actually does change directions. But the stop is so short, it is hard to see. When it reverses directions, it is so quick it fulls the eyes.

    It probably could not be done without computer technology. The same things happens when we watch a movie, the sixteen frames (or whatever speed is used) are too fast for our eyes to follow. Magicians use the same idea to trick the eye.

  4. It’s not fake.
    Download and install Irfanview, go to options and extract all frames.
    Go experiment with proceeding manually through the frames.
    Pay special attention to what happens around frames 8 and 25, here the woman is seen from the side, the direction of spin will depend on whether you are visualizing the woman standing on her left leg, with her right leg lifted, or standing on her right let with her left leg lifted.

  5. Okay, there is an answer to this illusion. You CAN minipulate the direction she spins, you simply must anticipate it. If you concentrate on the outermost leg, and try to make that leg keep coming back to you, you will notice that see is only spinning one direction, you just anticipate the fast that she is going to continue in her revolution. Imagine she is doing “half spins”, not even full spins, this is what its like. It is so hard to put into words, its something that just came to me, but what i can say is that she is only spinning in one direction, but you can interpret differently. You will feel so good once you figure this out, as a start, stare at the shadow and try to manipulate the direction.

  6. Hmmm… looking back, this is really wierd, wow. It seems impossible when you think about it… look at her head! Explain that… this really confuses me. There is no way the head can get away with this tricky business without a little milisecond long twitch done by a computer. I tthink i can almost see the head out of the corner of my eye quickly jump to the other side to accomodate for the woman spinning.

  7. omg people this is retarded,OF COURSE u can see her spinning either way!!! the silouette is perfectly symmetrical and the motion is symmetrical in time and appearance so there is no DEPTH. its like this, if u spin a ball around a maypole in the dark, such that wen the ball passes ur line of vision u dont know if it is behind or infront of the pole, then obviously, its not diffent than a pendulum going back and forth visually except that it spends more time spinning around so u know it is going in circles and not just swinging. but u really cant tell which direction without depth.

  8. just to clarify, i dont mean the girl is symmetrical, i mean that when she is facing left, her silouette is exactly the same wen she is facing right, so u dont know, as she turns, whether she is turning forward or turing backward.

  9. The reason why some people aren’t fooled is because the height of the outer foot is higher when passing from left to right than when passing from right to left. If your brain assumes a normal viewing perspective,meaning when looking at the feet it means we are looking downward it is clear that the girl must be spinning clockwise.

  10. Here are my observations.

    One, watch her when it appears as though she is facing forward (same direction as you are looking). At that moment, observe which leg is up. It does change, at least in my mind.

    Two, watch either her arm or the shadow of her grounded foot as if it were the arm of a clock. I don’t have to look away, or think of multiplication tables to see that the direction changes.

  11. ı can make the woman rotate by focusıng on the shadow or the mıddle of the thıgh.
    ıf u do that thıng wıth your eyes where you focus wıthout realsıng (lıke when youre tıred) then the woman changes dırectıons for me.

    ı can now change the dırectıon whenever ı please

  12. She’s not spinning in either direction it’s an 2D animation. As soon as you look at it your brain attempts to make sense of what it’s seeing and why it’s changing. It’ll decide she’s rotating one way or the other.
    If I concentrate on the foot I can make her turn this way then that over and over.
    It’s just your brain trying to make sense of the world around you by tring to fit what your eyes see to what makes sense to it.

  13. It has become clear to me that the figure is rotating 180 back and forth, left and right. The leg switches at a time that would be impossible for a real person but this is, of course, just an animation. Sometimes all I see is the figure going back and forth and sometimes I can see it making full revolutions.

  14. it not illusion, just count 1 to 8, its turn clockwise and viseversa.

  15. agreed.

  16. I can make her go from left to right or right to left like a soccer ball and spin in both directions. I love this illusion…just know its being used on you and me each and every day. its all an illusion!

  17. its the angle u look at her

  18. Here’s a little visual aid for those who can’t change her spin on their own, or those who can and would like a better visual on what their brain is tricking them into seeing. 🙂


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