Auditory illusion

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Auditory illusions are false perceptions of a real sound or outside stimulus.[1] These false perceptions are the equivalent of an optical illusion: the listener hears either sounds which are not present in the stimulus, or sounds that should not be possible given the circumstance on how they were created.[2] [3] Auditory illusions highlight areas where the human ear and brain, as organic survival tools, differentiate from perfect audio receptors; this shows that it is possible for a human being to hear something that is not there and be able to react to the sound they supposedly heard.


Sounds that are found in words are called embedded sounds, and these sounds are the cause of some auditory illusions. A person's perception of a word can be influenced by the way they see the speaker's mouth move, even if the sound they hear is unchanged.[4] For example, if someone is looking at two people saying "far" and "bar", the word they will hear will be determined by who they look at.[5] If these sounds are played in a loop, the listener will be able to hear different words inside the same sound.[6] People with brain damage can be more susceptible to auditory illusions and they can become more common for that person. [7]


There are a multitude of examples out in the world of auditory illusions. These are examples of some auditory illusions:

According to Purwins,[8] auditory illusions have been used effectively by various composers, e.g. Beethoven (Leonore Overture), Berg (Wozzeck), Krenek (Spiritus Intelligentiae, Sanctus), Ligeti (Études), Violin Concerto, Double Concerto, for flute, oboe and orchestra), Honegger (Pacific 231), and Stahnke (Partota 12).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Auditory Illusion - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  2. ^ "Auditory illusion: How our brains can fill in the gaps to create continuous sound". Science Daily. Science Daily. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Massaro, Dominic W., ed. (2007). "What Are Musical Paradox and Illusion?" (PDF). American Journal of Psychology. University of California, Santa Cruz. 120 (1): 124, 132. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Auditory Illusions: How your ears can be fooled". Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  5. ^ "Do You Hear What I Hear? Amazing Auditory Illusions Explained". IFLScience. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  6. ^ Scott, Brian L.; Cole, Ronald A. (1972-01-01). "Auditory Illusions as Caused by Embedded Sounds". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 51 (1A): 112–112. doi:10.1121/1.1981302. ISSN 0001-4966.
  7. ^ Fukutake, Toshio; Hattori, Takamichi (1998-11-01). "Auditory illusions caused by a small lesion in the right medial geniculate body". Neurology. 51 (5): 1469–1471. doi:10.1212/WNL.51.5.1469. ISSN 0028-3878. PMID 9818885.
  8. ^ Purwins, Hendrik (2005). Profiles of pitch classes circularity of relative pitch and key-experiments, models, computational music analysis, and perspectives (PDF). pp. 110–120.

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