70 Percent Of People Say They Are Able To Listen to This Silent Gif


Gifs are brief, silent animations. Unlike videos, they have no audio documents within them. Which explains why it’s extremely unusual that many of individuals online claim in order to listen to one.

It is a gif you might have seen before as it resurfaces every couple of months, always with an identical caption: Someone asking “why may i hear this”, usually along with a few crying encounters showing how distressing they discover the experience.

The gif, created by Twitter userΒ Happy Toast, has resurfaced again after a scientist put out an appeal for help understanding why people hear a noise.

Can you hear it? You’re not alone.

Dr Lisa Debruine, a researcher at the University of Glasgow, also included a poll to see how many people could hear the gif. So far, 75 percent have said that they could hear a thudding noise.

A further 4 percent have said they hear “something else” when watching the gif.

So what is going on?

Well, first off, it’s definitely not just this gif. Other gifs have been posted all over the Internet that people have claimed they can hear, such as this one where you can hear elephants on a see-saw…

… and this gif you can’t look at without hearing the Queen classicΒ We Will Rock You.

We alsoΒ know that our perception of sound can be influenced by visual information in other ways, it’s not limited to soundless gifs. The McGurk effect, shown in this video from the BBC’sΒ HorizonΒ program, shows how your brain can be tricked into hearing different things based on the visual information you are perceiving at the time.

In this case, you won’t be able to tell whether you’re hearing “baa” or “faa” because of the way the man’s mouth is moving. What you see can override what you hear.

But is it possible for visual stimulus alone to cause people to hear sound? Short answer: Yes.

A report earlier this season discovered that 22 % of individuals could “hear” faint noises when these were shown a display of light, though no sound occurred even.

We already knew that some individuals in the populace (around 5 %) have synesthesia, a sensation where information received in one sense (electronic.g. audio) is recognized by another (e.g. flavor) automatically and involuntarily. However, this research showed that much more of the populace “heard movement” – listening to sounds in reaction to visible stimulus – than once was thought. It isn’t an effect limited by synesthetes.

So whether it’s possible to result in an auditory reaction utilizing a simple expensive of light, this gif of the energy pylons skipping that are an especially good exemplory case of what sort of stimulus can cause this impact, hence why more and more people appear to “hear” it.

People online have suggested the gif may be especially good at producing this phenomenon because of the camera shake, adding to the illusion that if it’s so big it’s causing the ground to shake, you should be hearing it.

Something which Lisa would like to test herself.

However, it could also partly be down to the power of suggestion. I.e. you are hearing the sound because the caption above the gif is implying that you should.

So what do you think? Could you hear the gif? And if you did, were you only hearing it because we told you you should?


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