The Turn Test

The image shows the silhouette of a woman turning round and round. (She seems to be naked, but I'd say it's safe for work.) The text says:
Which way is the woman turning? Clockwise or anticlockwise? After a while, you will be amazed to find that not everyone will agree about which way she is turning! Even more amazingly, some people find that when they ask her, in their mind, to "change", the woman in the image responds by changing direction!

I stared at the spinning woman for a while, but I could only see her turning clockwise. I kept asking her in my mind to change direction, but she wouldn't. Can other people actually see her turn anti-clockwise? Apparently so. One guy analyzed the image frame by frame to find out how the illusion works. But I'm not seeing it.

In fact, I'm thinking it might be a joke designed to get people to stare at the image for hours, desperately trying to will the woman to change direction. But she never will. (Thanks, Nirmala)


Posted on Tue Apr 08, 2008


it didn't work for me the first 1 1/2 minutes or so, then she changed from going clockwise to anti-clockwise.

and then i couldn't change it back to clockwise.

Posted by grace  on  Sat Apr 12, 2008  at  11:34 PM
Look at her standing foot. Now say in your mind "left" and "right" as the foot turns. Now you can alternate directions as much as you want. the standing leg and foot is the key.
Posted by Tobester  in  New Jersey  on  Sun Apr 13, 2008  at  07:48 AM
By staring at her upperlegs, right when the space between them closes- it is impossible to tell which direction she is going, so at that point you can change which direction you want her to go.
Posted by Jackie  on  Sun Apr 13, 2008  at  11:08 AM
You were a little premature with your berating Corwin. You weren't the only one to ponder that the animation might be a looping gif. I tested this to see if it was a cycling gif as well. I watched it and counted out. The image never changed direction. It only changed direction if I looked away and then looked back. This wasn't time dependent. There is no rotation pattern except in Corwin's head. This kind of perceptual illusion is not anything new. Think of the Necker cube that seems to keep flipping it's perspective as you stare at it.
Posted by Shamus  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  02:08 PM
I can reverse it on screen if I try but my husband sees her spin one way then the other, a rhythmic cycle of back and forth, back and forth.
Posted by WSL  in  Ottawa  on  Thu Apr 17, 2008  at  07:37 PM
This site explains it, and you can add eyes to help see it turn.
Posted by JorWat  on  Sun Apr 20, 2008  at  03:39 AM
I can see it both ways. The trick is to tell yourself that when her leg goes behind the other one, it's actually going in front. You can get it to the point where it looks like she is swinging back and forth.
Posted by Sarah  on  Fri May 09, 2008  at  01:25 PM
I would say hoax. When the image is turning clockwise, her right arm is bent. Then the image switches so that her left arm is bent and she is morning counterclockwise.
Posted by brittany  on  Wed May 14, 2008  at  09:09 AM
This illusion is an example of what is called the ambiguous motion effect, which is caused by an absence of depth cues. Your brain will attempt to make sense of this image by selecting a random direction that you will perceive the figure to be rotating in, although if you concentrate hard enough, you can change the perceived direction, or it can happen spontaneously. Most people probably perceive the image to be moving clockwise because of the position of her feet or arms, which make one direction look a little more natural than the other.
Posted by Jess  in  Sydney  on  Wed May 21, 2008  at  01:57 AM
To me the key to making her change directions is watching the shadow of the uplifted foot. That shadow disappears as that foot moves "towards" you. So, as she rotates, if I watch for the shadow to appear on the right side of the screen, and then look up at her, she appears to be turning clockwise. If I watch for the shadow to disappear on the left side of the screen and then look up at her, she appears to turn counter-clockwise. My brain has adjusted to it well enough now that I can make her change direction EVERY time the shadow appears and disappears, therefore giving the illusion that she's not rotating at all, but switching direction back and forth while facing me.
Posted by FatRichie  on  Wed May 28, 2008  at  09:49 AM
I can't see her doing anything... is my brain broken? :-(
Posted by Money Safes  on  Wed Nov 25, 2009  at  06:58 AM
Watch her feet! When she's turning clockwise she's balancing on her left foot and when she's anti-clockwise then she's balancing on the right foot. The IQ being over 160 is BS.
Posted by Maggie  in  location  on  Sat Feb 12, 2011  at  04:29 PM
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