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On July 20, 2021, Damayanti Datta set the internet abuzz with a black and white GIF featuring a walking horse. The catch? The horse’s direction of movement sparked a viral debate, leaving viewers divided on whether it was striding forward or stepping backward. Datta’s tweet posed the question, but the answers revealed more than just a perception of motion – they hinted at underlying cognitive tendencies.

Do you see the horse going forward or backwards?

So, what does it mean if you see the horse marching forward versus retreating backward? According to Datta and others who shared the GIF across platforms like TikTok, perceiving the horse’s forward movement suggests a left-brain dominance. This analytical, methodical thinking style aligns with logical reasoning and attention to detail. Conversely, interpreting the horse’s steps as backward indicates a right-brain inclination – a penchant for creativity, intuition, and artistic expression.

However, amidst the flurry of responses, some observers claimed to see the horse moving in both directions, complicating the binary distinction proposed by the left brain/right brain theory. Yet, before delving further into this dichotomy, it’s essential to understand its roots.

What is the left brain/right brain theory?

The left brain/right brain theory posits that the two hemispheres of the human brain govern distinct functions and processing styles. While the theory acknowledges that both hemispheres contribute to cognitive processes, it suggests that one hemisphere often takes precedence. Thus, being labeled as left-brained or right-brained implies a dominance of certain cognitive traits rather than an exclusion of others.

What does it mean to be right-brained?

In essence, the right brain embodies creativity, imagination, and holistic thinking, fostering innovation and outside-the-box solutions. Artists, musicians, and dreamers are often associated with this hemisphere. Conversely, the left brain champions logic, analysis, and linear thinking, excelling in mathematics, science, and problem-solving. Those skilled in critical thinking and methodical approaches typically align with this hemisphere.

However, the correlation between handedness and brain dominance remains a topic of debate. While it’s true that the brain’s hemispheres control the opposite sides of the body, the relationship between handedness and cognitive tendencies is complex and understudied. Despite this ambiguity, the association between left-handedness and right-brained thinking persists in popular discourse.

Is this left-brained vs. right-brained test accurate?

As for the accuracy of the left-brained versus right-brained test presented by the horse GIF, it’s essential to approach it with a grain of salt. While personality tests can be entertaining and thought-provoking, they lack scientific validity when it comes to diagnosing cognitive dominance. In other words, the direction you perceive the horse moving does not definitively determine your brain’s dominant hemisphere.

Ultimately, while the horse GIF challenge may offer a moment of amusement and introspection, its implications for understanding brain function should be taken with caution. Embrace the fun, but remember that true self-awareness extends beyond viral trends and internet quizzes.

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