Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Illusion of Spin

1. The hands and feet are symmetrical.
2. The head is asymmetrical.

If you look at the heads, the figures must spin. Your brain will force the issue no matter how hard you try. If you cover up the heads, the bodies can either spin or move back and forth. Your choice.

This is the part that I find interesting. When looking at the heads, the brain knows they must spin. When the heads are "covered up", the brain clearly still knows they must spin but no longer cares.


The expression is usually applied to people in positions of authority who abuse their power to avoid or silence criticism or to deflect guilt of wrongdoing. Those who initiate a cover up (or their allies) may be responsible for a misdeed, a breach of trust or duty or a crime.

No wonder we are such easy targets for the spin doctors.


mab said...

All I see is spin. No joke.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Yeah, I was like that at first. Try covering up everything but the feet.

It will be worth it if you can see the effect. It is mind blowing, especially as you gain the ability to change between spinning and moving back and forth at will.

The feet have two choices and the brain is happy with either of them.

They can either continue to spin non-stop or they can change direction at the point they are completely sideways (both to the left and to the right). Once you see that then the body will also do the same. If you scan up to the head though, all will be lost. The head MUST spin (since the head is not symmetrical) and once your brain sees that it is all over (until you stop looking at the head again anyway).

Stagflationary Mark said...

One more thought.

This is why it is mind blowing.

As the feet approach the decision point (almost sideways), you can consciously decide if you want them to spin or change direction. You have to really think though. If you imagine that the feet will continue to spin, then they will do so. If you imagine that the feet will come to an abrupt stop and change direction, then that's what will happen. You can see what you want to see.

Ever see the movie Scanners? The effect gives you the feeling that you have the very tiniest of mental powers. You are willing those feet to do what you want them too! Seriously. That's what it feels like. Plus, you can feel the brain working and it is hard to describe.

A friend of mine is learning to play the drums. When the left hand, right hand, left foot, and right foot are all doing different things simultaneously he says he can really feel his brain work. He can't think about it too much or he'll mess up though. He says it feels a bit miraculous and a bit like he's not really controlling what is going on. That's a bit what it is like trying to get those feet to spin or not spin.

Muscle memory is fascinating to me (no doubt due to the "playing video games" part ;)).

Stagflationary Mark said...

Yet another thought.

If you really want to feel the impact of muscle memory and you are a touch typist, then put tape over all the keys so you can't see them and then try to type with just one finger from one hand using hunt and peck.

It is a LOT harder than one would think. My keyboard is old. The "m", "n", "a", and "s" are faded to the point I can't read them. When I am touch typing I have absolutely no problem finding the "m" or the "n" by feel. If I hunt and peck (presumably just one letter thinking it will be faster than placing both hands on the keyboard) then I always have to think through which one is the "m" and which one is the "n" though, and it is not a trivial task (it ends up being slower).

I've noticed something similar on the piano. There are pieces I can play with both hands. If I don't use one of my hands then my other hand can't remember what to do. You'd think it would be easier to remove a hand and simply concentrate all brainpower on just the one hand's part. It isn't. It is actually a lot harder (if I've been playing a song mostly subconsciously anyway, through repeated practice).

Angry Saver said...

Yep, saw it right away by looking only at the feet. Weird!

For me it's not so much a brain thing, it's more of an eye thing - allowing the non-dominant eye some freedom. If both eyes focus on the same thing then it's just spinning for me.

Also, imo, muscles don't have memory. It's all upstairs.

Neat post!

Stagflationary Mark said...

Glad you saw the effect!

So you don't have a Scanners thing but instead have an eye thing?

I'm ready to do battle in a controlled environment. Just don't adapt too fast for me. Hahaha! ;)

mab said...

I never saw the movie scanners.

Did You Know?
The exploding head scene was accomplished by filling a latex head with dog food and rabbit livers, and shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Rabbit livers????? I never would have thought of that. What will they think of next? And where were the PETA folks?

WV: "mistick"

mab said...

Speaking of spin doctors:

Stagflationary Mark said...


What will they think of next?

That our debts are 'Ephemerol'?

Stagflationary Mark said...

News from my local mall:

Crowd gets unruly at Southcenter over shoes

"It's Michael Jordan, man," said one eager young man. "He's the best basketball player and like these shoes are like the first patent leather shoes... get it."

Nike's spinnin'.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Be Like Mike

Few realize that Michael Jordan would not be where he is today if he did not rise at the crack of dawn to...

...stand in long lines at the local mall to buy collectible sporting goods.