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Mon Jun 23, 2014, 11:51 AM

A Sound You Can't Unhear (And What It Says About Your Brain)

Last edited Mon Jun 23, 2014, 12:29 PM - Edit history (1)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/sounds-you-cant-unhear/373036/

Alexis C. Madrigal
Jun 19 2014

Just listen to this radio clip. It's only takes 50 seconds for the Franklin Institute's chief bioscientist, Jayatri Das, to demonstrate something fundamental about your brain.

She starts with a clip that's been digitally altered to sound like jibberish. On first listen, to my ears, it was entirely meaningless. Next, Das plays the original, unaltered clip: a woman's voice saying... (OP note: spoiler removed) Then we hear the jibberish clip again, and woven inside what had sounded like nonsense, we hear... (OP note: spoiler removed)

The point is: When our brains know what to expect to hear, they do, even if, in reality, it is impossible. Not one person could decipher that clip without knowing what they were hearing, but with the prompt, it's impossible not to hear the message in the jibberish.

...

Hearing, itself, is thinking. Which makes it subject to the machinations of the rest of the brain, which are constantly priming the ears about what they should be expecting.

(more at link)

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