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Old 5th December 2017, 08:03 PM   #1
William Parcher
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Can you hear the silent gif?

It's an internet craze. Watch the silent gif of the funny jump-roping towers. Do you hear the thud of the jumper? I do, and apparently lots of others do as well. The sound is created in your brain by your "visual ear". The gif is in this article...

Originally Posted by BBC News
Remember the white and gold dress that some internet users were certain was actually blue and black? Well, this time the dilemma being discussed online is whether you can hear anything in a silent animation of skipping pylons.

Some people claim they can hear a thudding sound when the pylon hits the ground and the picture vibrates.

Many social media users have discussed the noisy-gif phenomenon, as on Imgur in 2011, for example, where it was titled an "optical illusion for the ears"...

It resurfaced again last weekend when Dr. Lisa DeBruine from the Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology at the University of Glasgow posted it on Twitter, asking her followers to describe whether they experienced any auditory sensations while watching it.

Dr. DeBruine received more then 245,000 responses from people claiming to hear a sound accompanying the animation, with 70 per cent of respondents saying they could hear a thudding sound.

Dr. DeBruine told the BBC: "I don't know why some people hear it very clearly, others only feel it, and others perceive nothing at all. Some deaf and hard of hearing people have reported all three perceptions, as have people with aphantasia," a lack of visual imagery.

"I thought some of the vision scientists I follow would be able to explain it right away, but it seems like there are several plausible explanations and no clear consensus."...

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42237092
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Old 5th December 2017, 08:10 PM   #2
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I can hear it in the same way I can taste cheap vodka. There's a sensation there, but I can't quite call it "hearing".
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Old 5th December 2017, 08:15 PM   #3
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It's so easy to disprove, just close your eyes and see if you hear the thump without looking at the image.
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Old 5th December 2017, 08:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
It's so easy to disprove, just close your eyes and see if you hear the thump without looking at the image.
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Old 5th December 2017, 08:27 PM   #5
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I've seen this gif numerous times and never imagined a sound with it.
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Old 5th December 2017, 09:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Could you splain your emoji? Thanks.
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Old 5th December 2017, 09:24 PM   #7
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I don't think anyone is claiming that the gif file is generating actual sound, but rather the visual cues in the image are stimulating the perception of sound. A person would have to be looking at the image for that to take place.

Last edited by Rougarou; 5th December 2017 at 09:26 PM. Reason: removed unnecessary "that"
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Old 5th December 2017, 09:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rougarou View Post
I don't think anyone is claiming that the gif file is generating actual sound, but rather the visual cues in the image are stimulating the perception of sound. A person would have to be looking at the image for that to take place.
Well yeah, which is the point, there is no actual sound there.
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Old 5th December 2017, 10:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Well yeah, which is the point, there is no actual sound there.
Is there an award for obviousness you are aiming for here?

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Old 5th December 2017, 10:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It's an internet craze. Watch the silent gif of the funny jump-roping towers. Do you hear the thud of the jumper? I do, and apparently lots of others do as well. The sound is created in your brain by your "visual ear". The gif is in this article...
Wow, that's really interesting. Watching it I can "hear" a thump as it lands, but it doesn't feel like sound, it really does just feel like my brain adding in a "thump" - like when you think you hear a faint song and for a while you're convinced that's what you're hearing and then you realise it's just running water and your brain has added a bunch of stuff, because you THOUGHT it was a song on the radio.
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Old 5th December 2017, 11:00 PM   #11
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Too bad I couldn't have encountered the image first without the setup. I wonder how much the power of suggestion played into "hearing" the sound.
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Old 5th December 2017, 11:11 PM   #12
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“Hear,” isn’t the right word, but yes, I hear a thump much like I hear my thoughts. I suspect this is partly due to priming and partly due to the visual cue that there should be a thump.
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Old 6th December 2017, 01:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
I've seen this gif numerous times and never imagined a sound with it.
I'm with you.

Sound is sound. Picture is picture.

Just because the picture vibrates doesn't mean it causes me to think I hear a sound. Bizarre!
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Old 6th December 2017, 01:55 AM   #14
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I don't hear a sound, either. Without the setup, I might have, though. And watching it, like others here I also get some weird vibration sensation in my forehead. It even persisted for a few seconds in rhythm with the jump after I closed my eyes.
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Old 6th December 2017, 02:36 AM   #15
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My brain fills in the sound. I know I'm not actually hearing anything, but I am involuntarily imagining a heavy thud.

I get that a lot though, often when I'm looking at rythmic movement, my brain starts filling in 'auditory' cues as a way of keeping time.
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Old 6th December 2017, 03:26 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
My brain fills in the sound. I know I'm not actually hearing anything, but I am involuntarily imagining a heavy thud.

I get that a lot though, often when I'm looking at rythmic movement, my brain starts filling in 'auditory' cues as a way of keeping time.
Yes, that's a good descriptor - involuntary imagination.

I often find that my brain will exaggerate faintly heard sounds - this most often happens in the shower. I'll swear I can hear music being played in the distance and even catch some lyrics, but when I turn the shower off it turns out to just be water pipe noises.

Maybe I've got brain cancer.
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Old 6th December 2017, 03:53 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Yes, that's a good descriptor - involuntary imagination.

I often find that my brain will exaggerate faintly heard sounds - this most often happens in the shower. I'll swear I can hear music being played in the distance and even catch some lyrics, but when I turn the shower off it turns out to just be water pipe noises.

Maybe I've got brain cancer.
"Hallucinating" music is extremely common. I read a while back that it's universal for people who go completely deaf, too.
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Old 6th December 2017, 04:05 AM   #18
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It's very important to me, almost to the point of fetish, to be in control of being right about what's real (out there) and what's imagination (in here) and being able to control both very precisely.

Being in control of this is something that will presumably only get worse as I get older.

One way that I can be easily fooled is by soundtracks, by foley. You see an action, hear a sound that seems to correspond, but it's just something someone made up.

And of course, that hawk screech? They put that in, too.
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Old 6th December 2017, 06:52 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Could you splain your emoji? Thanks.
Instead, you start by explaining your post #3. What is disproven by closing your eyes?
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Old 6th December 2017, 07:01 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rougarou View Post
Too bad I couldn't have encountered the image first without the setup. I wonder how much the power of suggestion played into "hearing" the sound.
I will be the one arguing that power of suggestion or priming is not necessary or key for the effect. I believe that it is subconscious and will occur regardless of whether you are told that it will happen or not. I also believe that you cannot consciously make the sound stop.

The original discovery of this phenomenon when viewing this gif could not have come from priming.
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Old 6th December 2017, 07:23 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
I also believe that you cannot consciously make the sound stop.
I, for one, cannot consciously perceive a sound to begin with. For me, it's an interesting bit of animation - and no sound. And yes, I am fully aware that the brain is continually trying to find patterns, fill in the blanks, model what is perceived on the basis of past experience, etc.

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Old 6th December 2017, 07:29 AM   #22
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Personally, I don't hear anything, but I do imagine the feeling of a bump quite vividly.

Hans
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Old 6th December 2017, 07:38 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Personally, I don't hear anything, but I do imagine the feeling of a bump quite vividly.

Hans
I find it very hard to describe what I get, but this is probably closest, I feel like my brain is trying to add some kind of sound or haptic effect. Possibly my brain is anticipating and compensating for it and it's that involuntarily reaction that I'm 'feeling'.
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Old 6th December 2017, 07:43 AM   #24
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The doctor in the OP found that about 70% of the respondents heard a sound. This presumably means that about 30% don't hear anything.
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Old 6th December 2017, 07:56 AM   #25
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I get a weird tightness in my ears with each bounce that's almost like a sound but not?
possible explanation could be the Acoustic Reflex.
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Old 6th December 2017, 08:22 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
It's so easy to disprove, just close your eyes and see if you hear the thump without looking at the image.
How would that disprove it?
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Old 6th December 2017, 08:27 AM   #27
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Even more mundane explanations for hearing those things that aren't there.
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Old 6th December 2017, 08:29 AM   #28
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Old 6th December 2017, 03:28 PM   #29
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As others have said, I feel it more than I hear it.

For fun I started thinking of what other sound is implied by the image.I imagined the clanking, the swinging of the wires, and the joy of the jumping tower. Now I feel the towers glee at the apex, too. The faint "wee" balances out the "thump" rather nicely.
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Old 6th December 2017, 03:45 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
As others have said, I feel it more than I hear it.

For fun I started thinking of what other sound is implied by the image.I imagined the clanking, the swinging of the wires, and the joy of the jumping tower. Now I feel the towers glee at the apex, too. The faint "wee" balances out the "thump" rather nicely.
I can't hear the "thump", but I can clearly hear them giggling.
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Old 6th December 2017, 03:54 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
As others have said, I feel it more than I hear it.

There's definitely some kind of muscle twitch going on around my ears. I'm not hearing anything but feel something. How odd.
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Old 6th December 2017, 04:04 PM   #32
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I hear AC/DC's High Voltage
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Old 6th December 2017, 04:16 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
I get a weird tightness in my ears with each bounce that's almost like a sound but not?
possible explanation could be the Acoustic Reflex.
accidentaly gave the m version in the link so here's the usual one Acoustic Reflex
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Old 6th December 2017, 07:37 PM   #34
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Still just an interesting bit of visual animation. Nothing more.
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Old 7th December 2017, 12:19 AM   #35
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You need (a) soul to hear the thump of the jump, the sound proportional to it's health. Should you hear the giggling you have bigger problems.
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Old 7th December 2017, 01:38 AM   #36
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I watched with the expectation of hearing nothing, surprisingly that was not the case and I can "hear" a thump when it lands!
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:41 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
I get a weird tightness in my ears with each bounce that's almost like a sound but not?
possible explanation could be the Acoustic Reflex.
I get this.

I wonder if the effect is triggered by the shaking of the whole image as it lands?


Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Instead, you start by explaining your post #3. What is disproven by closing your eyes?
That there is a real sound.

If you hear a sound looking at the gif and it disappears when you close your eyes, it proves to you that the sound was only in your own mind, see?

What else could she have meant?
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:48 AM   #38
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I don't hear anything, nor do I get a sensation of impact, while watching the animation.
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Old 7th December 2017, 04:54 AM   #39
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I don't "hear" or "feel" anything when watching the GIF.

But playing it on endless repeating loop, it looks like three pylons playing skip-a-rope. Quite silly.
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Old 7th December 2017, 06:02 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I get this.

I wonder if the effect is triggered by the shaking of the whole image as it lands?




That there is a real sound.

If you hear a sound looking at the gif and it disappears when you close your eyes, it proves to you that the sound was only in your own mind, see?

What else could she have meant?
But we knew the gif didn't have a soundtrack?
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