Have you ever put the TV show you were watching on mute only to swear that you could hear the characters talking whenever you looked back at the screen?
For me, this has happened quite a few times and I’ve had to wonder whether I did, in fact, turn the volume all the way down or if I was just going a little crazy. As it turns out, I’m not alone. A gif is making the rounds on Twitter, baffling most who watch it. Like every other gif, it’s silent — but people claim they can hear something while watching it.
Here’s the gif in question, which was created by Twitter user Happy Toast. Do you hear anything when you play it?
If you can, you’re among the majority. Dr. Lisa Debruine, a researcher at the University of Glasgow, created a poll asking users whether they could hear something from the gif. About 75 percent answered they could hear a thudding sound, while 3 percent reported hearing “something else.”
The phenomenon actually isn’t unique to this particular gif. Chances are you can also hear a similar thudding sound while watching the one below. Visual representations such as these show how what you see can influence what you hear — or, what you think you hear. For certain visual information and movements the brain is familiar with, such as jumping, it will sometimes produce the sounds it predicts will accompany them.
Another interesting phenomenon is the McGurk effect, which is explained in the BBC program below. It demonstrates again how visual information can alter your perception of what you hear through the way the man’s mouth is moving.
(via IFL Science)