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Incredible Sound Illusions

Sunday, Jul 3, 2022, 1:03 pm

1.Temporal induction of speech

This sound illusion is when we hear a continual sound even though there are actually gaps. We seem to have this ability to fill in spaces when we want to and the result is a continued sound due to our brain basically jumping the gun with what is to follow next.

2.Phantom words

This illusion is quite freaky because it involves two samples of words being spoken at the same time with there being a bit of an overlap. At first it sounds like a complete jumble, but when it is played over and over again we can actually then start to work out individual sounds and phrases until we can basically understand quite a lot of it.

3.MgGurk effect

This is strange and it only works if you can see a visual clip at the same time as listening to it. The thing that happens with this effect is that we may see something being said, but the sound is something different and our brain can then interpret the sound as being a third thing. This is due to the confused signals it is getting.

4.Tritone paradox

In this kind of recording it is strange in that some people will hear the notes in it moving low to high while other people will actually hear the complete opposite. The truth of the matter is that all of the notes are actually slap bang in the middle of the range, so both are wrong and it shows how our ears can play tricks on us.

5.Matchbox noises

This illusion works along the same lines as the haircut one mentioned earlier, but this time it involves a box full of matches being shaken as somebody walks around. They can light one at completely random times and due to this stereo effect you can tell where they were when they did this even if we cannot physically see it.

6.The haircut experiment

As you get your hair cut there is a difference in the sound levels that you experience in each ear. This is what is known as the stereo effect and you will notice that if you feel as if the sound is louder that you feel they are closer to cutting you. This is purely down to how we can perceive sound and pinpoint where it is coming from.

7.Beat getting quicker

With certain drum sounds our ears can be tricked into believing that the tempo is increasing, but that is not always the case. It is merely due to how we perceive the sound, but the tempo stays the same at all times.


8.Falling bells in the sky

This is a strange sound illusion, but it focuses on a paradox where we believe that the pitch is getting lower when in actual fact it is getting higher. If the sample is then looped you can then hear it dropping back down to reveal that you heard it wrong in the first place.

9.Shepherds Ascending Tones

This illusion occurs when a pair of chords appear to be moving up the scale. However, the first and last sounds are actually the same, but it means that we never know when the scale stops and a new one begins leading to us becoming very confused.



Everybody has heard of an echo as it is one of the most recognizable sound illusions and indeed one of the most common that we will encounter in our lives. It is all to do with sound waves bouncing around and us then hearing them again, so that is why caves in particular are good for them.

11.Phantom melody

This is when a sound is played at a high and fast tempo or a particular pattern is being repeated. If that pattern is changed only slightly, but at speed, then our brain hears it and it can start to play the melody. That effect is lost when it is played at a slower speed and we do not then pick up on the changes.


12.Scale illusion

With scale illusion there are two played with one ascending and the other descending. The illusion is that the notes that we hear actually alternate between ears, so one ear hears the first note of one ear, then the second note is heard by the other ear.


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