Can You Trust Your Ears? (Audio Illusions)

Many of us have become quick to catch illusions
that trick our eyes – but how often do you consider illusions of the ear? Are you really
able to trust your ears and the things they hear? For example, listen to Greg speaking… What do you hear? If you heard ‘bar, bar,
bar’ you’d be right. But, how about now? Chances are you heard ‘far, far, far’ this time, with an ‘F’. Except, you didn’t – in fact, the audio didn’t even change between the two videos. Strange as
it seems, what you hear depends on which video you are looking at. Go ahead – take turns
watching each video and see how the sound morphs. This is a perfect example of something
called the McGurk effect, which shows how our visuals can alter what we believe we’re
hearing. Now I want you to count how many times you
see a circle flash on screen. Lets do that once more time. Did you see it flash twice?
Many people do. Yet, without the sound, it becomes clear that the circle is only flashing
once. In this case, the sound has altered your perceived vision. This next one works best with other people
around. I’ll play two tones, and you tell me if they are ascending or descending. In
other words, are the notes played from low to high, or high to low? Listen to this. Which was it? How about this one? Write down what you heard for each number, and let
us know in the comments. Chances are, if you compare with enough people, you’ll all have
different answers. Surprising? Try some more. And this one. How is it possible that you’re hearing something different from others? It’s an auditory illusion called the
Tritone Paradox. It’s created in such a way that the tones contains both a higher and
lower frequency in them, but our brains have a preference of which to listen to. Diana
Deutsch, the creator of this illusion, found that your geography and language from infancy
all play a role in deciding this preference. Finally, listen to this audio clip of a gradually climbing tune. And yet, if I play the exact same clip back to you, it will sound like
it’s only continuing to climb higher and higher. I swear this is the exact same clip I just
played – you can rewind that section of this video over and over and check yourself. Try
it! Each time you start it over, the tune is seemingly climbing even higher. It’s called
the Shepard Tone Illusion, of which there are many variations. In it, multiple sine
waves are played on top of one another raising in pitch, while one quickly drops down an
octave as the others continue rising. But our brain doesn’t notice this drop, and so
the clips sound like they are rising…forever! These illusions may help to explain how something
like music can have such a profound yet varying effect on our minds, which we discuss in our
new AsapTHOUGHT episode here, along with the question of whether or not Music Can Save Your Life.
There’s a link in the description to watch it! So…do you still trust your ears? Got a burning question you want answered? Ask it in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. And if you want the inside scoop on upcoming episode ideas and behind the scenes, check out our personal Instagram and Twitter handles. And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

100 thoughts on “Can You Trust Your Ears? (Audio Illusions)

  1. the first Greg was moving his mouth like if you were to say a letter that starts with B but the other one was doing like if you were to start with F sooooo is it an illusion?

  2. I heard bar and next video also bar, but when you show both at the same time it's far

  3. Actually yes the audio did change in the first you could see his lips say bar in the second you could see hi. Say far

  4. i was hearing bar bar bar but my brain was shouting me far far far i was just like: what the heck am i supposed to hear right now

  5. I tried with 4 friends and all our answers were same
    1:low to high
    2:high to low
    3:low to high

  6. I thought the first three were going low to high and the last one was high to low

  7. 1: Bar to Far
    2: 2.
    3:low high 1
    4: up up UP!
    5:umm still 4 and going up


  9. I still trust my ears
    i heard the exact same things and saw the same things

  10. Ur making the red ball going up faster, i tried rewinding yet it sounds different from the beginning to the end (my opinion)

  11. #1 Asend
    #2 decend
    #3 decend
    #4 decend

  12. Liars they did change the first one his teeth went showing and the second one his teeth were showing

  13. 0:52 Is it only me or do we think they're different because the 1st clip is saying it with his lip in front of his teeth and the other clip is saying it behind his teeth

  14. I saw a video with practically the exact same title, theme, and even script

  15. No I heard bar, I've seen it before. I outsmarted u by closing my eyes.

  16. Yes, i still trust my ears, somehow i never got tricked, except for the part where i had to telle ascending or descending, i seriously couldn't which one it was

  17. Saw Trap: Hello. I wanna play a game. For years you took advantage of the blind and deaf and depended on your own vision greatly. Now you will be tested with a series of tests. Be aware that you are one in the same. Should you trust your eyes or ears? Should you depend on your lies or fears? Let the game begin…
    Me watching this video: But I closed my eyes on the Shepard Tone Illusion and it still rose?

  18. When the bar and far thing happened, you can see that the guy was actually saying far on the other one by his mouth shape and his teeth

  19. 1 – Heard "bar" for both videos
    2 – Saw the circle flash once
    3 – No comment, there is no one around me coz I'm lonely
    4 – Heard the same clip both times, it didn't keep going

  20. He said far because look at his teeth and lips in the vidio he said far his teeth was teaching his lips but when he said bar it doesn't an try it your self look into the mirror an say bar and then far you will se a different in this 2 words (0:38)

  21. 1:23 I noticed immediately that it's neither decending nor ascending, it's just an interval changing, top note goes down, bottom note goes up

  22. Whaaaaat there not the same video in the first one, the first video has his teeth in, the next video next to it has his teeth out

  23. Shows circle flash once then says another time soooo commonsense plz I saw it two times

  24. Then I will not trust u because I dont trust my ears and I closed my ears and I saw it twice

  25. For the first one it's actually not the same audio
    He bites his lip slightly when he says far
    And doesn't when he says bar
    If you don't agree go to 0:38 and put in anything above the "normal" speed

  26. that rising pitch thing didn't work for me i hear the same thing every time, it doesnt continue getting higher

  27. NO, I DONT LIKE THAT, I DONT LIKE SHEPARD TONE, THATS CREEPY I DONT LIKE THAT, NO!!!! I’m fine with raising forever but not it continuing to raise with the same clip…

  28. Of course I don’t trust my ears. I’ll be sitting in bed alone and suddenly hear music when nothing’s playing. I just heard Minecraft music of all things like 30 mins ago😂😭

  29. First one i heard far when i went closer but when i went farther I heard bar

  30. the circle one is bullshit same 2 circles sound or not, as far as going frame by frame hell even imprint+windows key to paste the image to paint liars piece of shit

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