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OK, how does this work?

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15429.  Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:59 am Reply with quote

Received by e-mail...

This is so funny that it will boggle your mind. And you will keep trying at least 50 more times to see if you can outsmart your foot,

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.

.......And there's nothing you can do about it!

15436.  Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:36 pm Reply with quote

That is wonderful. Does anyone have anything similar?

15438.  Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:18 pm Reply with quote

It works for both hands and feet if you move the same-side hand and foot at the same time, but you can make clockwise circles with your left foot while drawing a number 6 in the air with your right hand.

15444.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 5:39 am Reply with quote

My partner is a ballerina and can actually do this. I can't do it no matter how hard I concentrate and it's driving me mad!

15450.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:58 am Reply with quote

Last night someone told me that there's a don at Cambridge who is also a choreographer and has been studying this area for some time, with results that confirm that dancers can do things the rest of us can't (as Commander has noticed). I suppose the interesting question is: can they do this because they're dancers, or are they dancers because they can do this?

15452.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 7:04 am Reply with quote

I would say that dancers have to be aware what their feet are doing at all time, so thanks to all the practice, their brains are conditioned in that way.

15467.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:01 am Reply with quote

I can do it too. But that might be because I learned to do a similar trick with two hands at once. Imagine you are holding a bicycle wheel up in front of you, with the ends of the axle in each hand so your nose and chest would be almost scraped by the tyre as it revolves.

Now with your right hand, trace the circumference of this imaginary wheel round and round in the air so that at the top, your finger is moving away from your face, and at the bottom your finger is coming back in towards your stomach. Easy.

Now at the same time, revolve your other hand round and round in the opposite direction, i.e. so that your left-hand finger comes towards your nose at the top of its trajectory, and out away from your stomach at the bottom.

Most people will end up with both fingers going round the same way (i.e. one just following the other round and round).

15472.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:18 am Reply with quote

None of these cause any problems to me at all, though I've never come across them before. All I can offer is that I'm a pianist, and part of that is being able to have complete independence between left and right hands. Organists need to decouple their feet from any tendency to move along with the hands, and, since I dabble in that field too, maybe that accounts for it.

You know when you fold your arms so that they cross in front of you against your chest, with the fingers of one hand sticking up and the other hidden behind the upper arm? Can you do it the other way round? I find it a doddle, but most people I meet are completely unable to manage it.

15473.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:24 am Reply with quote

He he, I thought “easy”. Folded my arms the other way, and when I looked they were back exactly where they started! But it’s been a long day. Cheering myself up by looking through some of the old liffs.

The “6” thing is easy if you write the number starting from the middle instead of the top, and is also apparently easier for the more sinister (left-handed) amongst you.

15478.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:38 pm Reply with quote

I can do the arm-folding thing and I can do the bike tyre thing if I don't try and do it for more than three or four turns.

15479.  Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:39 pm Reply with quote

The folding the arms thing is easy, and now that I know to start the six from the middle, that's easy too (thanks eggshaped).

15491.  Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:35 am Reply with quote

Surely the whole point of the '6' thing is that you're meant to try it so that you're writing the six 'anti-clockwise'...

So here's a candidate theory - it's hard to do these things because (a) it's hard to stop your movements following each other when you can only concentrate on one of them at once, and (b) clockwise and anti-clockwise are hard to separate, even when you're concentrating, because they're so similar in nature.

Co-ordinated people (i.e. those that have had practice at some or all of these things) can do them much more easily. Drummers would also have no trouble, I predict, seeing as they have to manage at least four separate rhythms at once, often many more.

15496.  Sat Feb 19, 2005 7:53 am Reply with quote

Off topic, but I heard Dave Brubeck being interviewed once and lamenting the irony of being diagnosed with an arrhythmic heart.

Stephen Fry
16606.  Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:45 am Reply with quote

I'm a drummer and I can do all these. I bet jugglers can do it too.

Samuel Thomas
16613.  Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:13 am Reply with quote

I find with a bit of concentration I can do them, but can not drum, nor can I dance or juggle, infact I lack a huge amount of coordination owing to my dyspraxia. This does, however, give me increased spacial awareness and I can manipulate two objects, one in each hand, independantly, which may explain how I can do this. Here's a chalange: try using a pair of chopsticks in both hands at the same time. I can do this, but I have not met any one else who can.


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