Brain trickery

Helsingin Sanomat ran a story on the brain and how it processes stimuli. The story, published on February 12th, is behind a paywall, but I thought I’d post some of the links mentioned.

At first listen, this clip doesn’t make sense. But then listen to this, and return to the first clip. Sine-wave speech becomes decipherable after the brain knows what it is listening to.

Dropping syllables from recorded speech makes it nearly unintelligable (listen). But filling the gaps with static restored their comprehensibility (listen). Makio Kashino’s paper.

McGurk Effect — how your eyes throw off the ear. A great demonstration that visual cues are an integral part of speech recognition.

Looking isn’t necessarily seeing. For an infamous example, watch this video and “count the total number of times that the people wearing white pass the basketball. Do not count the passes made by the people wearing black.” Then proceed to step two.

Another example of attention in seeing is shown in the flicker paradigm: “A large fraction of traffic accidents are of the type ‘driver looked but failed to see’. Here, drivers collide with pedestrians in plain view, with cars directly in front of them (the classic ‘rear-ender’), and even run into trains. (That’s right — run into trains, not the other way around.) In such cases, information from the world is entering the driver’s eyes. But at some point along the way this information is lost, causing the driver to lose connection with reality. They are looking but they are not seeing.”


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