The phenomenon of self-rotation observed in naturally and artificially pigmented cells under an applied linearly polarized alternating current (non-rotating) electrical field has been investigated. The repeatable and controllable rotation speeds of the cells were quantified and their dependence on dielectrophoretic parameters such as frequency, voltage, and waveform was studied. Moreover, the rotation behavior of the pigmented cells with different melanin content was compared to quantify the correlation between self-rotation and the presence of melanin. Most importantly, macrophages, which did not originally rotate in the applied non-rotating electric field, began to exhibit self-rotation that was very similar to that of the pigmented cells, after ingesting foreign particles (e.g., synthetic melanin or latex beads). We envision the discovery presented in this paper will enable the development of a rapid, non-intrusive, and automated process to obtain the electrical conductivities and permittivities of cellular membrane and cytoplasm in the near future. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.