Auditory pareidolia and the power of suggestion

Michael Shermer discusses the classic case of “Satanic verses” in Led Zeppelin, played backwards:

9 thoughts on “Auditory pareidolia and the power of suggestion

  1. There’s another nice example at the beginning of this video. As in the Shermer video, the displayed lyrics strongly influence your perception of what’s being sung.

  2. Watched both.
    It actually shows a greater lesson.
    We are not only mishearing things but it shows we don’t hear anything.
    We have never heard anything in our life.
    What we do is, our soul, observe a memory. A song we are listening too is just a very recent memory.
    So its a simple predictable thing to see our memory not hear something correctly but right away put something in.
    The fast trigger here in these songs actually shows we are just watching a memory tape.
    Its not a audio illusion but a revelation of the true equation.
    They don’t understand this and thats because they don’t start from a soul concept.

  3. Robert Byers: They don’t understand this and thats because they don’t start from a soul concept.

    Well, why don’t you give a similar talk and explain it to everyone?

  4. OMagain: Well, why don’t you give a similar talk and explain it to everyone?

    II’m talking here!
    It really is the rejection of a immaterial soul, doing all the thinking, and THEN drawing obvious conclusions that everything is just a marriage between the soul and the memory.
    in all our senses we just read our memory.
    There are no optical, audio, etc illusions.
    They are fully functional and working fine.
    They simply reveal the truth.
    We don’t look out of our head, by sight, hearing etc AT ALL.
    We are just watching a memory . A youtube.
    The illusions are just proving there is editing at the simple level.
    It proves we have never seen anything but live in a virtual reality machine.
    So in audio the same thing. The memory provides the sounds/word on a hair trigger.

  5. Another cool example of a cross-sensory influence on perception:

    Parchment-skin illusion: sound-biased touch

    Audiotactile interactions have remained largely unexplored, although Paul von Schiller noted in 1932 that sounds — noise bursts or tones repeated at regular intervals — may affect tactile perception of roughness. We describe here a novel audiotactile interaction, ‘parchment-skin illusion’, which demonstrates that sounds that are exactly synchronous with hand-rubbing may strongly modify the resulting tactile sensations.

    The subjects were seated with forearms supported on their thighs. A microphone close to the hands was recording the sounds produced when the subjects rubbed their palms together in a back-and-forth motion at 1–2 cycles per second. The sounds were played back to the subject through headphones. This audio feedback was either identical to the original sound or modified so that the high frequencies (above 2 kHz) were either dampened by or accentuated by 15 decibels (dB). In addition, the maximum sound intensity, which was adjusted to a comfortable listening level, was attenuated by either 20 or 40 dB…

    During the pilot sessions several subjects spontaneously reported that the enhanced high-frequency feedback made the palmar skin feel drier, almost resembling parchment paper; this effect was found in 13 out of 17 healthy adults tested. Moisture on the palmar skin typically prevented the phenomenon.

    When either the proportion of the high frequencies or the average sound level of the auditory feedback increased, the skin started to feel more paper-like, that is, the perceived roughness/moisture of the palmar skin decreased and the smoothness/dryness increased. The effects of both the high-frequency content and the average intensity of the feedback were statistically highly significant (by analysis of variance)…

    An additional experiment with two experienced subjects showed that a delay of the audio feedback by more than 100 milliseconds clearly diminished the illusion. Efficient binding of multisensory inputs evidently requires accurate temporal coincidence, or a temporal window for multisensory integration (as discussed in [4]), which naturally happens when the subjects hear the sounds produced by their own hand movements.

  6. keiths,

    I’ve seen some different demonstrations of this effect with songs by artists ranging from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd to Fleetwood Mac and Judas Priest. Great demonstrations of the human mind’s ability to detect non-existent patterns. I recently did a bit of internet research resulting from a discussion I had with a friend while drunk (when all great ideas are hatched). I was curious if the human menstrual cycle was in any way correlated to the Lunar cycle. It turns out that it may be, but not for the reason most people assume.

    When I strayed off into a Google search for ‘Full Moon Lunacy Theory’, things really got interesting. The widespread belief that the full moon has a substantive effect on peoples’ mental coherence has long fascinated me. It is a great example of our tendency to confirmation-bias where a single event perceived as abnormal around a full moon is taken as evidence in support of the theory, while the perfectly normal behavior of the larger part of the Earth’s population on that day does not count against it. It is along the same lines as the assertion by some that ‘bad things always happen in threes’, which is true 100% of the time provided you do not specify a severity or a time-bound.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.