Your eyes modify the sound you hear – The McGurk Effect

Wed, Feb 3, 2010 One-minute read

I have been blown away with this fascinating visual/audio illusion. Watch the following video and listen carefully on what he’s saying.

Now close your eyes and play the video again. Do you hear the same thing?

Most people will hear “Da-da, da-da” (or “ga-ga, ga-ga”) when watching the video with the eyes open, but then will hear “Ba-ba, ba-ba” when they close their eyes. In this video, the audio and the image do not relate, however our brain tries to make them relate somehow. What we are actually hearing is “Ba-ba, ba-ba”, but what we’re seeing is a man saying “Ga-ga, ga-ga”. So our brain is trying to find a middle point and we hear “Da-da, da-da” (or “ga-ga, ga-ga”).

This is known as the McGurk Effect, and you can read the original paper written by Harry McGurk & John MacDonald in 1976 here.