How Smart Is Your Right Foot?

Status: True
Below is an email that's going around. Maybe it's been circulating for years, but I received it for the first time today. It makes a claim that seems dubious at first. But, upon experimentation, appears to be true. At least, it's true for me. There must be a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. The question is: does it hold true for everyone? And is it possible to counteract this reflex through force of will?

This is so funny that it will boggle your mind. And you will keep trying it at least 50 more times to see if you can outsmart your foot. But you can't!!!
1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it.
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction!!!
I told you so... And there is nothing you can do about it.

Body Manipulation

Posted on Thu Oct 06, 2005


haha that was so easy to counteract. it took me 2 tries.
Posted by Farkwun  on  Tue Oct 11, 2005  at  07:37 PM
That was easy, but I was born ambidextrous, so I don't know if that helps or not.

What I could do:
-right foot circle, right hand "6"
-left foot circle, right hand "6"
-right foot circle, left hand "6"
-left foot circle, left hand "6"
Posted by Draconegia  on  Wed Oct 12, 2005  at  04:22 PM
This is a thought: how many of the people who can do this are regular two-handed typists on the Net? The chances are that the neural pathways needed for this kind of thing build up in people who can use both hands or multi-task body functions in other ways.

It would be fascinating to see if non-geeks, er, people who don't use the computer a lot can do this with the same rate of success.
Posted by DFStuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Thu Oct 13, 2005  at  12:24 AM
This is not like the pat your head, rub your stomach thing as many people have suggested. The reason it's so difficult is the fact that your right hand and right foot both use the left half of your brain (both your left hand & foot use the right half). This causes problems when you are trying to make them do two entirely opposite motions (ie..foot turning clockwise, hand turning counterclockwise).
Posted by Nathan  on  Sat Oct 15, 2005  at  02:23 PM
I think the pattern seems to be that people who have hobbies or jobs where their feet and their hands are doing different things have no trouble with this.

My foot doesn't even have a tendancy to change directions when I start my hand. Then again, I have done 8 years of marching band, which is very much a seperation of hands (playing music) and feet (marching). Also, I've done dance with flag, so that too my hands were doing flag work, while my feet were moving me around or doing cool dance steps.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Sat Oct 15, 2005  at  11:23 PM
I found this really easy, also patting your head while rubbing your stomach is easy too. And I don't do any drumming, and i am not ambidextrous. Maybe I should start drumming or writing with my left.
Posted by Giuliano  on  Sun Oct 23, 2005  at  09:30 AM
I saw this on Discovery channel and I thought it was BS because I have no trouble doing it both clockwise and counterclockwise.

And I had no clue that patting your head while rubbing your stomach was that kind of trick, I thought it was just people acting like retards.

What's next, you can't chew gum and walk at the same time?
Posted by The joke is on you!  on  Tue Nov 08, 2005  at  09:42 PM

I could outsmart my foot by writing "6" with my hand on a table, but not in the air. Odd.

(Inflammatory opening remark added to be cool like the other Tourette's people.)
Posted by Knarf  on  Sat Nov 19, 2005  at  01:17 PM
this effect is due to the fact that in 95% of right handed individuals and about 75% of left handed individuals, mathamatical computations are controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, the same hemisphere that (generally) controls the right side of your body. why your foot changes directions is not known to me, but that's the general idea.
Posted by ian macinnis  in  NL Canada  on  Wed Nov 23, 2005  at  01:20 PM
Too easy.

I don't see any rule that says you can't start from the inside of the six and write it clockwise.

One of course now someone will try and change the rules mid game because they got beat.
Posted by Craig  on  Sat Nov 26, 2005  at  04:38 PM
I can do it with my right foot and hand, no problem. It was so easy, I was wondering if the whole thing was a fake. But then I tried the left side, and my foot started going side-to-side when I made the 6.
Posted by Mark  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  10:26 AM
It's a matter of right-brain/left-brain connection... we had to do this in one of my classes two years ago

I used to be able to do it really well, now it takes me three or four tries... I can move my hands in opposite directions with no effort at all, but it's kinda difficult for me to do this one
Posted by kasu-chan  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  08:03 PM
this was easy. my foot did not change direction. i even started at the top of the 6.
Posted by he dunnit  on  Sat Jun 10, 2006  at  10:41 AM
Seriously, if I hadn't been reading all your comments saying that your foot actually did something you didn't want it to do, I wouldn't believe it! I tried this and nothing happened for me... I mean, my foot kept going around and around as I drew the 6 a dozen times (starting at the top as you're "supposed" to). Weird. Maybe I'm a freak of nature? I wonder what it means about my brain... hmmm...
Posted by Erin  in  Ottawa  on  Sun Oct 15, 2006  at  06:24 PM
My teacher presented this challenge to my class. She said it was impossible. But, she was wrong. I CAN do this. It has to do with having very good coordination. Though, nobody else in my class, or anywhere i have tried this, can do it.
Posted by Taylor Cogsil  in  does it matter?  on  Tue Oct 24, 2006  at  08:12 PM
I can do it.

Every once in a while I have a hard time. But the majority time I can.

Who thinks of this stuff?
Posted by Carter S  on  Wed Oct 25, 2006  at  09:53 AM
You know, the numebr of people responding that they can do it strikes a chord with me . . . I could never do the "Pat head/Rub Belly" thing for years until I started doing fine manipulation like painting miniatures, drawing and typing; Maybe it is a skill that can develop with increasing fine motor skills?
Posted by DFStuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  07:24 PM
I think no one ever can actually do it the FIRST TIME, but once you're aware of it.....
Posted by hairymon  in  NY  on  Fri Nov 10, 2006  at  01:56 PM
I had no problem from the very first try and I am not a very coordinated person (trip over my own feet, etc.) I'm going to test the people at work today.
Posted by Kim  in  Pennsylvania  on  Thu Dec 21, 2006  at  09:29 AM
I did it just fine over and over, no problem!
Posted by Kristi  in  California  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  12:12 AM
This is pissing me off. I cant do it no matter how hard I try, so I decided to challange my 17 year old son. He can do it without any concentration or problem. It's not fair!!!!
Posted by Dale Rios  in  CA.  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  12:41 AM
depends on how you draw a "6" if you start from the top or the inside.
Posted by Absinthe  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  07:23 AM
That was so odd! I tried it and my foot started going up and down and then from side to side....But not in a cercal. It is realy easy if you start from the inside of the six because both are going clockwise and the other way, one is going clock wise and the other counterclockwise.
Posted by Esther  in  Arizona  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  08:37 AM
I also noticed that most of the lefties can do it much better than the people who are right handed..I havn't yet figured out why this is so. smile
Posted by Esther  in  Arizona  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  08:49 AM
Try doing your own taxes without pulling out your hair. You can't do that either, but the foot trick is much more fun!
Posted by KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  09:42 AM
This only works if you make a number 6 incorrectly, starting your loop from the top down. Didn't we all learn in school, some to the point of abuse, that you start the number 6 in the center, not the top?
Posted by Wes  in  Chicago  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  10:20 AM
I wonder if this is easier for a musician? I play piano & have no problem doing it. I think I overcame this limitation when I learned to play 2-against-3. Anybody else?
Posted by Carla  in  Fort Worth, Tx  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  10:31 AM
I tried this and didn't succeed with first 4 tries, but when I tried it again starting in the middle of the six, it was a lot easier. So for all of you who succeeded by starting at the top of the six must be weird indeed.
Posted by Lilly  in  Reno Nevada  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  12:45 PM
WOW...."LOL" This is a new phenomonia for me today.
Posted by Christine  in  Missouri  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  12:52 PM
I had no problem doing this with either my rights or my lefts. The key for me was pretty simple - focus on your foot. My brain can draw the 6 without my attention, so as long as I kept my focus on my food going the right direction, it was easy smile
Posted by Sarah  in  Grand Junction, CO  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  01:29 PM
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