It is relatively easy to understand and demonstrate how the brain can be tricked into seeing something that in reality is not as it seems! Take the picture below, it looks like it is moving right? Equally, we understand how the brain can be entrained into creating new neural pathways that may help with all kinds of ailments! Or as Sky shows us in her video series, even create a wealth mindset. But what about the connection between Sight and Sound? Well, it’s very interesting, so read on.
So studies of children and adults in accurately identifying and recalling what they have heard show a switch from childhood to adulthood in which sense is favoured and relied upon for perceiving the world.
It seems that below the age of 10 the auditory (sound) centres of the brain develop faster than the visual centres.
In other words; children rely on what they hear more than what they see.
Children are less likely to be fooled by visual illusion.
Whereas adults rely more on what they see.
And in adults this can be both an asset and a problem.
For instance, if while listening you hear only two syllables out of three in a word, but you see the mouth shape of the third syllable, then your brain will connect the two and understand the word. Useful in noisy environments or where hearing is not so good.
However, as we get older we rely more and more on this visual confirmation and visual information in general, because of how much more information is present. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say.
This tendency can cause us to discount what we have heard in favour of what we have seen.
And this can distort or even make completely false our memory of what we have heard.
There are exceptions of course; some strongly auditory people will have what they see changed by what they hear.
I remember a saying I heard years ago that went like this…
“What you do speaks so loudly to me that I cannot hear what you say!”
I always liked that saying.., and now it makes even more sense.
One way to describe how sight overrides sound is the McGurk effect
What is the McGurk effect?
Watch the video published by the BBC and see for yourself how, as adults, sight has a major effect on what we actually hear. Basically, the reporter says the same thing continuously but they change what his mouth does and we hear a different sound! The sound has not changed but the visual clue of what it should sound like has. Try it, you will be amazed even though you know it is happening!