Shepard tone

Do you remember that internet meme “laurel or yanny”? It’s a nice illustration of the fact how inaccurate actually our organs of perceptions.

Whatever sensor it relates: to ears, to eyes, to nose, our organs send a pretty sloppy picture of signals into the brain. But the brain itself is astoundingly powerful, and it can decipher them, adjust the picture according to other sensors and draw the whole consistent picture of the environment.

There is a trick though. Because of the inaccuracy of our sensors, our brain is used to throw some signals automatically, and it can lead to funny effects of misinterpretation.

There are many visual tricks that show this effect in action, but not that many for sounds.
That is the reason why I love sounds spoofs more.

I am going to introduce you another one: Shepard tone.

It would seem that nothing can go down forever. Everything eventually has to reach its bottom. (exclude social justice warrior’s actions).

Thus any “failing” sound would reach the limit of perceptions of humans eyes pretty fast and become undetectable.

Roger Shepard managed to build an illusion of endlessly failing tone.

Please enjoy:

There is an explanation of how it works on the Wikipedia page.

  • Did you enjoy hearing this effect?
  • Are you a laurel or a yanny person?
  • Do you know other sound deceptions?

3 comments

  1. It doesn't sound like an ascending pitch of the tone. 

    I can sense the effect sounds like a circular one. It moves from here and there in a circular formation. He cleverly used a mix of two different sounds in parallel and created an illusion.

  2. Do you remember that internet meme “Laurel or Yanny”? It’s a nice illustration of the fact how inaccurate our organs of perception actually are, no matter whatever sense sensor it relates to: to ears, to eyes, or to nose.  Our organs send a pretty sloppy picture of signals into the brain. But the brain itself is astoundingly powerful, and it can decipher them, adjust the picture according to the other senses sensors, and draw a the whole consistent picture of the environment.

    There is a trick though. Because of the inaccuracy of our senses sensors, our brain is used to sending throwing some signals automatically, and it can lead to some funny effects of misinterpretation.  There are many visual tricks that show this effect in action, but not that many audible ones for sounds.  That is the reason why I love sounds spoofs more. 

    Let me I am going to introduce you to another one: Shepard tone.  It would seem that nothing can go down forever. Everything eventually has to reach its bottom. (excluding exclude social justice warrior’s actions).  Thus any “falling” sound would reach the limit of perceptions of humans eyes ears pretty fast and become undetectable.  Roger Shepard managed to build an illusion of endlessly failing tone.

    Please enjoy: [video here]

    There is an explanation of how it works on the Wikipedia page.

    • Did you enjoy hearing this effect?
    • Are you a Laurel or a Yanny person?
    • Do you know any other sound deceptions?

    I agree with Vasanth. It sounds more like a rising tone than a falling tone.

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