OU blog

Personal Blogs

WYSIWYH

Visible to anyone in the world

An experiment you can try at home


A stick figure wonders if they hear the word 'bat'. Meanwhile a bat hovers overhead.

What You See Is What You Hear

Equipment

1. Any sound recorder: phone or computer. Anything that will do the job. You need recording and playback.

2. A mirror to see your lips.

Experiment

Step 1.

Start the recorder. As distinctly as you can, and at short regular intervals, record yourself saying rhythmically, with the emphasis on the ‘B’.

Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, …

Do this for 30 seconds or so.

Step 2.

Please read through the steps below before going on.

1. Get the mirror. Look at your lips, as though you were watching the lips of a language teacher.

2. Play back the recording. If you used a smartphone switching to speaker is better than holding the phone up.

As you listen to the playback, silently mouth, rather than speak, the syllables below over and over again, lip-synching with the recording. Try to make very clear lip movements. Imagine you are speaking for an audience who are deaf and rely on lip reading to understand you.

As you mouth the syllables gaze intently at your lips in the mirror. Listen carefully to what you hear. (You’ll find you can do these three things at once quite easily.)

These are the syllables you have to mouth.

That Fat Bat, That Fat Bat, That Fat Bat, …’

You will almost certainly hear ‘that fat bat, that fat bat, …’, and not what you were really saying at all. When you see your lips shaping the consonants Th and F it’s impossible to hear B, whatever your ears pick up. Remember you really just said ‘bat bat bat bat bat…’ and that’s the sound reaching your ears but it’s not what you hear.

Background

This illusion is known as the McGurk effect. There is an excellent Horizon clip about it here.

Notice that it’s immaterial whether you are looking at your own lips or another person’s. Usually people watch a video like the Horizon one but as you’ve seen (or heard) seeing and hearing yourself works equally well.

Reflection

What surprises me even more is this. If I do the experiment a few times running and then only listen to the sound on its own, no lips, I still hear ‘that fat bat…’, so the effect has persistence!

The McGurk effect is all the more remarkable because we process sound quicker than vision. But what we hear – the interpretation we place on the sounds –  can be delayed and modified by related visual information.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Mer S, Friday, 11 Jun 2021, 14:00)
Share post

A Wild Rose

Visible to anyone in the world


Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Friday, 11 Jun 2021, 01:30)
Share post

Haiku by Issa

Visible to anyone in the world

花茨ちよつけいを出す小猫哉
hana ibara chokkei wo dasu ko neko kana

poking her nose
into thorny wild roses...
kitten

From http://haikuguy.com/issa/


Permalink Add your comment
Share post

One Liner

Visible to anyone in the world

I went to a trade fair for honey manufacturers. Came home with loads of freebies.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Oxalis

Visible to anyone in the world

This pretty little wildflower flourishes in my garden. It is a wood sorrel, also called oxalis, which in Ancient Greek was just the name of this and related plants, with nothing known further back. Sorrel is a Germanic word, connected with sour perhaps.



Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Aristotle's Nose

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 9 Jun 2021, 00:19

When we were very young we were shown the ‘two noses’ illusion by my Dad.

If you cross your fingers and touch a small object (such as the tip of your nose), there will seem to be two of whatever it is. Not being able to see the object strengthens the illusion, and because you can’t see the end of your nose very well it is a suitable tactile target. Besides, using your nose is amusing.

This illusion has been known for at least two thousand years. Aristotle wrote (Metaphysics Book 4):

“… touch says there are two objects when we cross our fingers, while sight says there is one”

It’s an example of a tactile illusion. There are a lot of optical illusions known but illusions of touch are less common.


Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Mer S, Thursday, 10 Jun 2021, 17:56)
Share post

Reach for the stars

Visible to anyone in the world

A child on a chair, reaching for the stars

When I was very small I thought I could literally stretch up and touch the stars.

I got a chair, but it still wasn’t enough.



Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Mer S, Tuesday, 8 Jun 2021, 12:58)
Share post

We all love

Visible to anyone in the world

Whatever you

   Say about my 

New plant

Astilbe

    Your friend.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Ancient Gardener's World

Visible to anyone in the world
I was thinking tonight (as a gardener) about the history of gardening.

A watering can is the gardener's friend, and I wondered about watering cans in the archeological record. Here's a handsome example from the ill-fated Herculaneum.


Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Disbelief

Visible to anyone in the world

Bloke down the pub said he built a skyscraper with a thousand floors. I thought, that’s a tall storey.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Futurologist

Visible to anyone in the world

I predicted my business would make money and it did; a kind of self-fulfilling profit, see.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Sniffle ergo sum

Visible to anyone in the world

Why did Descartes get through so many hankies? Because he had a Rene nose!

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Famous Names

Visible to anyone in the world

In a list of the most influential French people I’d put Descartes before Dior.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Solution to Geometric Problem

Visible to anyone in the world


Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Brain Transplant

Visible to anyone in the world

I was going to get a brain transplant, but I changed my mind.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Bucket List

Visible to anyone in the world

  • Livestock Bucket.
  • Ice Bucket.
  • Mop Bucket.
  • Bucket.
  • Commercial Mop Bucket.
  • Car Washing Bucket.
  • Ash Bucket.
  • Industrial Pail.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Dad Joke

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 28 May 2021, 22:37

Q. Why are pollen and nectar the absolute best?

A. Because they are the bee’s needs!

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Restlessness

Visible to anyone in the world

Benny Andersen was a popular Danish poet I recently came across. I rather like his witty verses. Here’s the first verse of Restlessness, translated from the Danish by Michael Goldman.

My suitcase opens wide imploring                             
Feed me                                                                      
fill me with socks
stuff me with shirts and underwear
fatten me with folded things
load me with longings and a shaving kit
I beg you
give me one more chance
to be tumbled around in trunks
relegated to backseats
treated like a dog on conveyor belts
let me be emptied
put through customs
and refilled
with dirty socks
half-emptied bottles
abducted ashtrays
let my contents spill out onto foreign sheets
hang on interesting hangers
plop in bidets with a guttural accent.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

A Geometric Problem - Given the angle A is 60 degrees...

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 28 May 2021, 01:47


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Ali Chakir, Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021, 17:26)
Share post

We'll Gather Lilacs in the Spring Again

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 25 May 2021, 23:52

We'll gather lilacs in the spring again
And walk together down a shady lane
Until our hearts have learned to sing again
When you come home once more

https://youtu.be/T29bxIh_krI


My fellow gardner sent me a photo – is this lilac? It smells lovely – I thought yes but uploaded it to Name This Plant, Microsoft's visual search on Bing, and it came back with Syringa. But a little more digging revealed that is indeed lilac, which is one of about a dozen plant species in the Syringa genus. It originates in the Balkan and the Greek name is paschalia, to do with Easter; pascal is derived from pascha = passover.

The name lilac ultimately stems from Persian nil = blue, which has a variant form nilak, and it has reached us via French < Spanish < Arabic. This made me think of the colour eau-de-nil ("water of the Nile"); could there be a connection.

Well perhaps. The Romans and Greeks called it Nilus and Νιελος, but beyond that the source is very uncertain. However, one possible root that's been suggested is indeed nil, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile#Etymology_and_names




Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Wednesday, 26 May 2021, 10:12)
Share post

The First Rose of Summer

Visible to anyone in the world

The first rose appeared today and it's a beauty.


Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Judith McLean, Wednesday, 26 May 2021, 17:45)
Share post

Start-up of an unusual kind

Visible to anyone in the world

A Unique Business

We offer a hairdressing service and also a private detective agency.

Visit shirley.combs.co.uk

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Epitaph for a Chicken

Visible to anyone in the world

I THOUGHT I COULD MAKE IT

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

The neglected garden

Visible to anyone in the world

My garden is so overgrown

Nothing there but tall ferns

Which the occasional bear visits.

Everything’s gone to bracken and bruin.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

My Chair

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 23 May 2021, 23:03

My chair

Always complains when I sit on it

I don’t know why 

I’ve done it a thousand times before

Perhaps it’s lonely.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 1041374