This dancer’s clearly spinning, but the lack of depth on the image means the brain can interpret her as moving either way. Approximately two-thirds of people initially see the dancer spinning clockwise, and some can even see her switch directions – how about you?

Spinning Dancer optical illusion

When it was first created back in 2003, pop-psychology had us believing the direction of her spin was due to which side of the viewer’s brain was dominant – right side and you see her clockwise and vice versa. However, The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions debunked this and instead puts the whole trick purely down to optics and says it depends on whether you interpret the image from above (she spins right) or below (she spins left).

In fact, recent research by neuroscientists at the University of Utah has called into question the very idea of left-brain v. right-brain theory itself. This commonly held idea goes a little like this:

Left sided: you’re analytical and are typically drawn to science and mathematics. You’re great at tasks requiring a high level of logic, reasoning, numbers or patterns.

Right sided: you’re intuitive and are drawn to creativity, music and art. You’re great where imaginative insight is needed and seeing the big picture of how everything fits together.

The science might still be out on this, but what is definitely true is that our adventure escape games have been designed to require both deductive and lateral thinking. So, think carefully when choosing your teammates and make sure you have a talented group of Torontonians if you want to escape!

Image credit: The Spinning Dancer, by Nobuyuki Kayahara (Procreo Flash Design Laboratory), CC BY-SA 3.0