The McGurk Effect

The McGurk Effect was first displayed by Harry McGurk and John McDonald in their 1974 paper “Hearing lips and seeing voices”. They provided evidence that the interpretation of language, in the case of face-to-face conversation, involves not only the auditory modality but also the visual modality, and these two information-types are integrated in order to form our perception of language.

While watching the following video, what sound do you hear?

Now close your eyes and listen to it again.
Now set the video to mute and listen to it again.

Weird, huh?

When watching this video for the first time, you most likely heard /Da/. However, the auditory track is the sound /Ba/, and this audio clip is overlaid upon the visual image of the man saying /Ga/. The brain takes the conflicting information from the auditory and visual information and settles on an intermediate sound, /Ba/.

This is profound evidence of multi-modal integration across the visual and auditory domains.

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