The McGurk Effect

Well this is something. In this video you see a close-up of a guy’s mouth saying “ba ba ba.” Then they change the video to the guy mouthing “fa fa fa,” but you still hear the audio of “ba ba ba.” Your eyes trick you into hearing “fa fa fa” even though that isn’t what he’s saying. As soon as  you look away from the video you’ll hear “ba ba ba.” It totally worked on me. Dang.


The McGurk effect is a perceptual phenomenon that demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception. The illusion occurs when the auditory component of one sound is paired with the visual component of another sound, leading to the perception of a third sound.[1] The visual information a person gets from seeing a person speak changes the way they hear the sound.[2] People who are used to watching dubbed movies may be among people who are not susceptible to the McGurk effect because they have, to some extent, learned to ignore the information they are getting from the mouths of the “speakers”.[3] If a person is getting poor quality auditory information but good quality visual information, they may be more likely to experience the McGurk effect.[4] Integration abilities for audio and visual information may also influence whether a person will experience the effect. People who are better at sensory integration have been shown to be more susceptible to the effect.[2] Many people are affected differently by the McGurk effect based on many factors, brain damages or disorders.

Hat tip to the only peer-reviewed journal of funny, Cracked.

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One Response to The McGurk Effect

  1. MHA says:

    Have you seen the show “Brain Games” on Nat Geo channel? It is full of this kind of info, optical illusions, magic tricks, etc. Check it out! Also, if you listen to any podcasts, RadioLab is GREAT. The older episodes are the best- science type-stuff told in a very engaging way.