What's Your Spin?
Different people actually see the figure spinning in different directions. You may also want to try looking at it from more than one angle. I see it spinning clockwise, except when I look at it from the corner of my left eye—then it goes back and forth.
If I hadn't known it was a test, though, it probably never would have occurred to me that other people would see it differently. That left me thinking about the many ways in which our perceptions differ. Not only can we see things moving in different directions based on whether the right brain or left brain is dominant, we also see colors differently, depending on how many rods and cones we have in our eyes. What looks like a bright and vibrant color to one person may seem pale and washed-out to another, and a small minority cannot see some colors at all. The light in a building may seem too bright to some and too dim to another, while some find that the fluorescent bulbs have an uncomfortable flicker that others cannot see.
It's the same with sound. A volume that seems normal to some of us may be unpleasantly loud to others, while another person can barely hear it. We enjoy different kinds of music. Some of us find repetitive sounds such as falling rain or chirping birds to be relaxing, while others find that such things get on their nerves. Some of us can hear the humming of electronic devices, while others can't. Loud, sudden noises startle some people, but others aren't bothered at all. Some folks don't mind living next to a highway, while others would be very annoyed by the noise.
We also perceive smells differently. One person's favorite perfume makes another person wonder what's rotting in the garbage can. Some of us enjoy walking through a fragrant flower garden, while others prefer the smells of a woodworking shop or a library. Although some folks love to linger in the bath and beauty stores at the mall, sniffing all those perfumed products, others will take a long detour to avoid walking past them.
There's a vast amount of individual variation when it comes to taste, as the gigantic supermarkets of today's society clearly show. Some people are very picky and will eat only a small number of foods, while others prefer a large variety, and there are a few folks who will eat just about anything you put in front of them. There are people who pour salt and ketchup on everything, while others dislike condiments and salty foods. Some folks like fried and processed foods, but others go for the veggies and other natural stuff.
As for touch and texture, some people don't mind being touched unexpectedly, while others find it very unsettling. A temperature that is pleasant for one person may be too hot or cold for another. Some prefer to wear natural fabrics, while others are more comfortable in synthetics. Touching a rough surface such as a popsicle stick seems creepy to some of us, but many folks don't mind. Some people hate getting wet, while others love it.
When you think about how many individual differences there are—literally thousands of differences—in how we perceive the world around us, it becomes clear that each person has a unique profile of sensory experience that varies significantly from that of everyone else. Two people standing next to each other are never going to experience the same thing.
So—considering the extent to which our individual wiring gives us very different perspectives on our world—isn't it about time to do away with the prejudiced fiction that there is such a thing as a "normal" brain?