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Research Suggests Auditory Illusions Allow Us to ‘Hear’ Silence

todayJuly 25, 2023 25

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Research Suggests Auditory Illusions Allow Us to ‘Hear’ Silence

Researchers from a prominent university in the United States have conducted a study suggesting that it’s possible to hear silence. This concept has long intrigued philosophers, but the research now provides evidence through auditory illusions.

The study, led by Rui Zhe Goh, a former student of philosophy and psychology at Johns Hopkins University, found that “nothing” can also be perceived as a sound. In the experiment, 1000 participants were exposed to auditory illusions based on silence. They listened to audio fragments simulating busy environments like restaurants, markets, and train stations, each containing moments of silence.

Surprisingly, the illusions that were typically associated with sounds also worked effectively when the sounds were replaced by silences. The subjects indicated that the fragment with one long period of silence seemed longer than the fragment with two shorter periods of silence.

Auditory illusions trick the brain into perceiving time as shorter or longer than it actually is. This experiment demonstrated that the brain processes silences in a similar way to sounds. Co-author and Professor of Philosophy and Psychological & Brain Sciences, Ian Phillips, remarked that the study revealed that the brain perceives the absence of sound as it does with actual sounds.

This groundbreaking research offers new insights into our perception of sound and silence. The experiment is open for everyone to try, allowing individuals to experience firsthand how their brain responds to auditory illusions involving silence.

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Written by: AIT

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