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Internet Divided Over Baffling Horse Illusion

Daisy Phillipson

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Internet Divided Over Baffling Horse Illusion

A spinning horse optical illusion is baffling people on TikTok. Watch here: 

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Trippy huh? Speaking of which, the illusion was shared by the aptly named Trippy Hub account where it’s been viewed over six million times. 

It shows a spinning geometric horse figure, asking viewers: “Which way is it spinning?”

The question might seem simple enough, but it’s left people unable to determine the real answer thanks to the visual trickery on display. 

Myself included - at first it appears to be going clockwise, but then halfway through it seems to switch direction. 

Numerous people agree, with one person writing: “It keeps on changing.”

Another said, “It’s going like a snake,” while a third added: “He’s going side to side like a worm.”

Not everyone sees the horse going in both directions, however, including this person who wrote: “How yall saying its moving both ways i stare at it and its spinning to the right.”

A second chimed in: “Clockwise…. Try to change my mind.”

Credit: TikTok/@trippyhub
Credit: TikTok/@trippyhub

Well, for now you’ll have to make up your own mind over which way the horse is going.

Perhaps the most famous illusion of this kind is the ‘spinning dancer’. 

Created in 2003 by Japanese web designer Nobuyuki Kayahara, the moving graphic shows a figure of a rotating ballerina. 

Just like the horse, some people see the woman turning clockwise, while others are convinced it’s the other way around. 

Some have suggested that this could be down to whether you’re ‘left or right brained’, a theory that has been deployed across a series of illusions for years.

It’s based on the idea that left-brain thinkers are more analytical and methodical, while right-brain thinkers are more creative - but there's no evidence to suggest this is true, so just take this is a bit of fun.

A more realistic explanation is that the image doesn’t have any depth cues, and therefore your brain will try to fill in the blanks depending on which part of the image you’re focusing on. 

If you stare at it long enough - whether it’s a dancer, cube or horse - you’re likely going to see it spinning both ways. 

Speaking to the New York Times about the optical illusion, Thomas C. Toppino, chair of the department of psychology at Villanova University, said: “What’s happening here to cause the flip is something happening entirely within the visual system.

“If we can understand why it is these figures reverse then we’re in a position to understand something pretty fundamental to how the visual system contributes to the conscious experience.”

Featured Image Credit: TikTok/@trippyhub

Topics: Optical Illusion, TikTok

Daisy Phillipson
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