Strange Illusion Makes You Hear Sounds That Are Not There

JoseAhonenPublished: July 6, 2016Updated: July 9, 2016329 views
Published: July 6, 2016Updated: July 9, 2016

When they say that your mind can play tricks on you, they mean business! Finnish mentalist and magician Jose Ahonen will show you how, by just changing the images you see, but not the sound, your brain will make you think that the sound his mouth makes changes with the images!

Jose demonstrates this phenomenon by first showing an audiovisual recording of himself makes a “ba" sound. He later switches to a visual recording, again of himself, making a “fa" sound with his mouth, but the audio is from the previous recording. Even though we are certain that it is the same sound, the longer you hear it, the more convinced you are that you are actually hearing him say “fa", instead of “ba". If that’s not mindblowing, we don’t know what is!

This psychological phenomenon is called the McGurk effect, first described in a paper by Harry McGurk and John MacDonald in 1976. It is a perceptual phenomenon that demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception.

The illusion occurs when the auditory component of one sound is paired with the visual component of another sound, leading to the perception of a third sound. The visual information a person gets from seeing a person speak changes the way they hear the sound. If a person is getting poor quality auditory information but good quality visual information, they may be more likely to experience the McGurk effect.

Dreamy Flashback by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Be the first to suggest a tag