Can You Hear This GIF?

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  • Lisa DeBruine, a scientist from Glasgow, tweeted the GIF and asked, “Does anyone in visual perception know why you can hear this GIF?”

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  • If you hear a thumping sound when the pylon hits the ground, you’re not alone. 62% of respondents on Buzzfeed say they hear the thud, and that’s up to 68% on a poll conducted on Twitter by DeBruine. The GIF was created in 2008 by an artist who goes by HappyToast.

    He says, “the thump is almost entirely in the shake if you crop out the pylons themselves you can still hear it. They just give it height.” HappyToast is quite the happy piece of toast since the GIF went viral.

    He tweeted, “Ooh look, I’m a twitter moment now,” “I’m proper news now innit,” and “Just realised I’ve done more impact assessment in the last few days with my pylon GIF than the entire Department for exiting the EU have this year.” Sick Brexit burn, HappyToast! I’d hate to be the DEEU right now.

    So what is going on here? The Verge talked to Christopher Fassnidge, a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, who says it’s a form of synesthesia, which is when people experience an event, like a sound, because of its connection to another sense.

    Since we expect to hear a thud when a big structure hits the ground, for some of us, our brain fills in the gap, making us hear something when there’s really no sound. Fassnidge has been studying this exact phenomenon and calls it the visually-evoked auditory response, or VEAR for short.

    What do you think though? Can you hear the GIF? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.

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