Spun Out

Ring around the rosyyy…

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Remember spinning around the playground as a kid til you felt like hurling–or maybe did!?? It turns out many other primates like to spin too! What makes this silly, dizzying pastime so much fun?

Adriano Lameira and Marcus Perlman from the UK investigated.

They didn’t want to test on apes, so they used a readily available source of information… YOUTUBE! They studied 40 videos of great apes spinning on a rope for fun! They determined how fast and long the apes spun and observed their behavior afterward. 

Turns out apes spin at speeds that induce a “high” feeling in humans! Humans are known to enjoy mind-altering experiences like those caused by drugs and alcohol. Or so I’ve heard. Anyway, primates seem to enjoy it too! AND different apes had different thresholds for getting dizzy. This information could hold clues as to how humans evolved to seek mind-altering experiences!

Ashes ashes we all fall DOWN! *Maniacal laughter*


Lameira, A. R., & Perlman, M. (2023). Great apes reach momentary altered mental states by spinning. Primates. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-023-01056-x