Last week I received an email with a so-called brain test. The sender wanted to know why the brain reacted in the way described in the test. Attached to the email was a computer generated back and white image of a female dancer.
By coincidence, I came across the same image in an online news article today, so perhaps this is now going round the internet. Have a look at the image for yourself here.
When you first look at the image, which way round did the dance appear to be turning? Are you able to get it to change direction? With a few minutes practice you should be able to control the direction she turns.
But how does this effect occur? Is it really a right vs. left brain issue, as suggested in the article? Unfortunately no sources for their claim on this are mentioned.
My opinion is that it is more to do with how to brain interprets visual input, rather than left / right brain. With this image it is a flat two tone picture. There is little reference point of perspective for the brain to use.
If you create your own reference point in your imagination, such as thinking whether the girls hair is towards you or away from you as she turns. The same can be done with her foot and if it is towards you or away from you. As there is not possible to know this, by using your imagination and telling your brain this is what you see, your brain will create the image and perception to what you believe in this moment. A classic optical illusion.
In our training courses we measure brainwave activity to compare left hemisphere brainwave activity with the right hemisphere. It is possible to measure the amplitude of activity and thus which side is more active. Where optimal levels of performance are achieved, be that in a sport or other activity, a balance of brainwave activity is seen. Conversely, we often notice that those who struggle to perform well, especially in academic skills, that they have a significant imbalance of brainwave activity.
There are other images, like this dancer, where your brain has to fill in the gaps of information it cannot see. Have you seen the drawing of the cube and you have to work out if the corner is towards you or away from you? You can see that and other illusions here.
The brain is a very clever piece of kit. If it is not sure as to what it sees, it creates that impression. This might include the child’s imagination that they see the shape of monsters in their bedroom, when it is just how the moonlight falls on a pile of clothes.