The McGurk Effect: How Your Eyes Can Affect What Your Ears Hear

It’s pretty easy to spot a badly-dubbed foreign film because the sounds coming out of the actors’ mouths don’t seem to match up with the movement of their lips. In other words, even when our vision and hearing are being stimulated at the same time during the film, our brains do a good job of picking up on which lip movements go with which speech sounds. The brain can also be fooled. In an intriguing illusion known as the McGurk effect, watching the movements of a person’s lips can trick the brain into hearing the wrong sound. It happens when there’s a conflict between visual speech and auditory speech, and it can result in the perception of an entirely different message. Take a look at the video below and you’ll be able to see just how much what you see affects what you hear.