sff_corgi_lj: (Lit - Mysteries)
[personal profile] sff_corgi_lj
Cerrberus gave me a perfect lead-in to follow up on the dancer illusion: If one can see the figure, it appears to be spinning; and there are some perceptual differences in people that interpret the figure spinning one way or the other, or sometimes alternating. I've not looked at such an illusion for years, and do not remember the psychology behind this.
The Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.
The original image of a dancer in a perpetual spin can be interpreted two different ways - she can either be spinning in a clockwise direction, or in a counter-clockwise direction (imagine her spinning on a clock face). Some people's perception may favor one direction over the other, and some people may see her change directions from time to time. The fact is that the image is a constant 34-frame loop representing 1 full revolution of the dancer, and no trickery is used to make her seem to be spinning one way or the other at any point in time. The effect is entirely caused by the perception of the viewer as he or she interprets the ambiguous frames where the spinning dancer's body appendages (legs and arms) cross over each other.

To prove this, shown [at the link] above are two copies of the original .gif animation, each having the same 34 frames representing 1 full revolution of the spinning dancer. The only difference between the left and right image is that on the left, I have added gray lines in the leg area to imply that the dancer is standing on her left leg and spinning in a clockwise direction. On the right, gray lines have been added in the leg area to imply that the dancer is standing on her right leg and spinning in a counter-clockwise direction. By adding this information to the animation, the variable of viewer perception is removed from the process, and when looking at only one image at a time (cover the other with your hand), it is believable that the dancer is only spinning in a single direction. Viewing both images together, side by side, will prove to you that it is the identical (original) animation.
ETA: The Spinning Dancer and the Brain

This image, originally created by Nobuyuki Kayahara, is a great scientific personality test. If you see the dancer spinning clockwise, you’ve got excess spleen qi in your left frontal crockus. This means that you’re a vibrant personality whose passions are apparent to everyone around you, but sometimes you are indecisive. If you see her spinning counter-clockwise, the right ascension of your natal chart lies in your sagittal broab and there are Fire humours dribbling out your left nostril. You should see a doctor as soon as possible.

LEELA: Hey, let me ax you something, Frye.

I had to go look this up, because it just sorta stuck in my mind all of a sudden. It turned out to be more interesting than I suspected! I found what might be the best technical answer in the archives of the American Dialect Society:
Date:         Mon, 6 Jan 2003 14:13:07 -0800
Reply-To:     American Dialect Society <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       American Dialect Society Mailing List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         FRITZ JUENGLING <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: "axe" for "ask"
Comments: To: [log in to unmask]
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

Both 'acsian' and 'ascian' were found in Old English.  There are cognates in Old Saxon, Old High German, Old Frisian as well as other non-Germanic languages.  All of them point to an original /sk/; hence OE 'ascian.'  Middle English has reflexes of both forms: asshe, asche, axy, axe among others.  The real question is where the modern standard form, 'ask',  comes from, because WGerm /sk/ usually went to /sh/ in OE.  The ODEE says, "The standard form ask (c . 1200) resulted from the metathesis of aks-, ax-."
If this is correct, we have  WGerm *aiskojan >OE ascian (but this form dies out, leaving only relics) > OE acsian (with metathesis, which comes down to us as 'aks') > ME 'ask' (with re-metathesis) > mod Eng 'ask'.
I can't help wonder whether there was some OE dialect in which there was no metathesis and no assibilation of /sk/ which could have provided the modern form.
Fritz Juengling

>>> [log in to unmask] 01/06/03 08:44AM >>>
I think Ol' Noah had it right. OE acsian seems to be at the base of it
all--although one (especially one without a competent dictionary at hand
at the moment)  wonders whether there's an unbroken chain from OE aks- to
ModE aks, or whether the metathesis to ask already took place in MidE. In
fact, is there a double showing metathesis already in OE (i.e. ascian,
acsian)?  That could account for both forms in ModE. If not, who might be
the culprit who is responsible for spreading the gospel of ask?  Is our
old friend Bishop Lowth lurking in the woodpile, perhaps?


On Fri, 3 Jan 2003, Frank Abate wrote:

> There is a recording of this pron and some explanation in Noah Webster's
> (yes, the man himself) A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language
> (1806), in the Preface, page xvi, paragraph near the bottom, in the
> facsimile edition.
> So it's been in American English for nearly 200 years, from people of all
> colors.  Noah W says, "ask, which our common people pronounce aks".  In
> fact, Noah goes on to say that the "aks" pron is the "true pronunciation of
> the original word".  Well, I don't know about that, but Noah makes an
> interesting point.  The "Saxon verb", as he cites it, is "acsian or axian".
> Frank Abate
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