Why Some People Are Able to "Hear" Mute Videos

Unusual GIFs, at the sight of which many involuntarily begin to feel the sounds of what is happening in them, have become the reason for a lot of scientific research. Psychologist Elliot Freeman of the City University of London and his colleagues discovered the "visual hearing" effect - an individual feature in which the perception of images and sounds merges into a single mechanism. Or, conversely, it is blocked.

The "visual hearing" effect appears to be the most common version of synesthesia, a phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory system produces a response in another. Approximately 21% of all people are exposed to it, and science interprets these phantom sounds as "visually evoked auditory response." Musicians and composers experience it more often than others, for whom music is a way of describing different aspects of the universe.

Testing for susceptibility to the "visual hearing" effect is not difficult. During the experiments, scientists stimulated different parts of the brain in subjects and observed their reactions to abstract puzzles. In ordinary people, the most active were those feelings whose control zone was closer to the area of ​​stimulation. In particular, it was possible to achieve a hearing loss in the subject against the background of increased vigilance.

But in people with the effect of "visual hearing", brain stimulation did not cause any reactions, their vision and hearing did not change. And when solving tasks focused on hearing or vision, they performed better than people without such a feature. Most likely - because their brain worked at full capacity, without shutting down individual areas. Now scientists are working on how to learn how to reproduce this effect at will.