Cast your vote in comments: is the girl spinning clockwise or counterclockwise?


You are wired. What you think, feel, believe, and remember forms your background of obviousness — your overarching sense of how the world and everything in it works. Fundamentally it is your sense of how the world is. It is your basis of common sense, or what is obvious. But…it is still your perception, no matter how seemingly obvious it can be to you. It is all wrapped up in your unique experiences and interpretation thereof.

Culture provides similar experiences across a group of people, and as such manifests as most of those people having a common sense about many things, at least as they pertain to points relevant to the culture.

Tolerance manifests out of the realization that “reality” is never truly objective.


11 Responses to “Obvious”

  1. 1 troy April 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I like the idea of culture, to some degree, determining common sense …and of course tolerance is that ‘glue’ holding such often divergent perceptions together.

    That figure btw, has been recently shown to rotate specific directions based on a skewed viewing angle and not some perceived hard-wiring of the observer.

  2. 2 David Stewart April 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    For me the figure rotates in different directions randomly. If I look away and back, it has reversed. I am aware of the various theories about it. None of them seem consistent with my experience. Some people seem to always see it rotating one way or the other, and have a hard time imagine it being able to spin the other way.

    • 3 troy April 13, 2011 at 6:05 am

      It’s also funny for me when I look at just a portion of the image, say the bottom …taken out of context I can notice its movement in one direction when I couldn’t see that direction before. Weird stuff! Here’s that link that I came across talking about the viewing angle…

      Click to access i0408.pdf

  3. 4 David Stewart April 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Yes, if I recall correctly this paper asserts that perceived rotation direction stems partly from an assumption that (though it’s ambiguous) the observer is looking from slightly above rather than below. Still a bias, a “wiring” of sorts. Further, however, I think it has also been shown that the above or below perspective is influenced by where in the rotation cycle one’s eye focuses on it. But I don’t recall the details.

    Today I cannot make it rotate counter-clockwise. Other times it has been easy to do this.

  4. 5 Anonymous January 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm


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