The McGurk Effect

Don’t believe everything you think.
–folk wisdom


Think you can stump the ear/eye connection? Below is a little test to see if you fall into the 98% of adults who experience the McGurk Effect. It doesn’t relate directly to music practice, but is interesting to think about and it does involve listening.

Neuroscience usually says the five senses are separate entities, but in the real world they interact in ways that are sometimes unexpected. Hearing and vision are connected and the most famous example is the “McGurk effect,” where the visual cue of moving lips changes how you hear speech. The McGurk Effect is something of a cautionary tale, I suppose. You can’t always believe what you see or hear. Or is it that you can’t always hear or see what you believe?

Experience the McGurk Effect for yourself here or for a version with better resolution but less information here.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.


McGurk, H. & MacDonald, J. (1976). Hearing lips and seeing voices. Nature 264, pp. 746-748.


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