Updated: Sep 21, 2020
A super weird audio illusion has gone viral recently and it really is about to break your brain.
As the text in the video on my Instagram explains, you'll hear some audio but hear it as two totally different words depending on which you are reading at the time.
Either Brainstorm, or Green needle.
To really confuse your brain, listen to it again and read or think of a different phrase, my mum chose "I am vegan" and it seemed to work well for her.
So what on earth is happening here?
Initially, I thought it had to have something to do with the frequency or pitch. But its actually more likely that this effect is a form of the McGurk effect...
What is the McGurk Effect?
It's pretty easy to spot a badly dubbed foreign film : the sounds that you hear coming out of the actors' mouths don't seem to match up with the movements of their lips.
In other words, even when our vision and hearing are being stimulated a the same time during the film, our brains do a really good job of picking up on which lip movements go with which speech sounds.
But the brain can also be fooled. The McGurk effect is when there is a conflict between visual speech and auditory speech, and it can make an entirely different message.
It's where your brain is tricked into hearing different things based on the visual information you are seeing at the time.
So the sound information is simply overridden not by what you're seeing at the time, but by what you are expecting to hear. If you listen to it fresh, without seeing any of the options beforehand it's likely you'll hear the real audio.
And I can vouch for that too, I did this to my mum and dad and they heard brainstorm.
So what should you be hearing?
The sound is actually from a Ben 10 toy saying brainstorm - its a toy that shoots mind powers out of its cartoon skull.