Offbeat Why Your Brain Sometimes Hears Sounds That Don't Exist

09:32  09 july  2018
09:32  09 july  2018 Source:   mentalfloss.com

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AsapSCIENCE’s latest video, spotted by Digg, helps explain how aural illusions work, and why hearing isn' t quite as cut-and-dried as you might think. As it turns out, it's relatively easy to trick the brain into hearing a sound that doesn' t exist .

We've known each other for so long Your heart's been aching, but You're too shy to say it Inside, we both know what's been going on We know the game and we're gonna play it. And if you ask me how I'm feeling Don ' t tell me you're too blind to see.

  Why Your Brain Sometimes Hears Sounds That Don't Exist © iStock In May 2018, the internet was abuzz with debate: Laurel or Yanny? Some listeners heard the former name in the viral audio clip, while others were convinced the voice was saying the latter. AsapSCIENCE’s latest video, spotted by Digg, helps explain how aural illusions work, and why hearing isn't quite as cut-and-dried as you might think.

As it turns out, it's relatively easy to trick the brain into hearing a sound that doesn't exist. Hearing is all about perception, and expectation plays a huge role. Your brain uses context to interpret the signals it receives from the sound waves that hit your ear. Research has found that when you expect to hear sound, the brain’s auditory cortex is activated in the same way as when you’re actually hearing sound.

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“ Sound is such a constant thing, we don ’ t even think about it” says Eric Heller, author of Why You Hear What You Hear . The Sounds of Silence. The real stuff is usually what people notice first. Starved for input, our ears and brain essentially go into overdrive.

ELI5: Why do some cops in big cities like New York use horses? 19.7k · 1090 comments. It's still making sound and you're still capable of hearing it but your unconscious brain has decided it's not important enough to perceive.

The brain often fills in gaps where it thinks sound should exist, as the examples in the video show. This, AsapSCIENCE explains, is called “temporal induction.” That might mean hearing the words to Smash Mouth’s “All Star” when only a piano melody is playing, if you already know what the words should be. It might mean seeing a word written onscreen and hearing the full word in the audio track, even when part of the audio cuts out a syllable. Or it could mean hearing sound in a completely silent GIF, as many people do when they watch an image of a power line bouncing up and down.

Intrigued? Learn more in the video below, and then test your hearing on these other aural illusions.

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