Last week, I posted
about auditory illusions featured on New Scientist's Web site. In the discussion following the post, several readers commented on the pioneering work in this area by UC San Diego psychology professor Diana Deutsch. She's been researching auditory illusions for decades and even curated two CDs of examples, "Musical Illusions and Paradoxes
" and "Phantom Words and Other Curiosities
." Deutsch's research page provides samples of some of those illusions. From her site:
Here we describe and illustrate some of Deutsch’s musical illusions and paradoxes. They show that people can differ strikingly in the way they hear very simple musical patterns. These disagreements do not reflect variations in musical ability or training. Even the finest musicians, on listening to the stereo illusions described here, may disagree completely as to whether a high tone is being played to their right ear or to their left. And the most expert musicians, on listening to the tritone paradox, can engage in long arguments as to whether a pattern of only two tones is moving up or down in pitch.
How do we explain these striking perceptual discrepancies? In the case of the stereo illusions, disagreements tend to arise between righthanders and lefthanders, indicating that they reflect variations in brain organization. In contrast, the way the tritone paradox is perceived varies with the geographical region in which listener grew up, so differences here are related to the languages or dialects to which people are exposed.
The illusions and paradoxes described here lead us to wonder what other curiosities of music perception might exist that have not yet been discovered. But using the principles that generate these illusions, we can now produce music that sounds radically different from one listener to another, and even from one audience to another.
Previously on BB:
• Fun auditory illusions Link (Thanks to the commenters and Tim Carr!)
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]