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Why some people can hear this silent gif

Why some people can hear this silent gif
From BBC - December 5, 2017

Can you hear the gif below?

Remember the white and gold dress that some internet users were certain was actually blue and black? Well, this time the dilemma being discussed online is whether you can hear anything in this silent animation of skipping pylons:

Some people claim they can hear a thudding sound when the pylon hits the ground and the picture vibrates.

The gif was created in 2008 by @IamHappyToast as part of a photoshop challenge on the boards of b3ta.com and has been circulating online since then - such as on Reddit's r/noisygifs subreddit in 2013.

Many social media users have discussed the noisy-gif phenomenon, as on Imgur in 2011, for example, where it was titled an "optical illusion for the ears".

It resurfaced again last weekend when Dr Lisa DeBruine from the Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology at the University of Glasgow posted it on Twitter, asking her followers to describe whether they experienced any auditory sensations while watching it.

Dr DeBruine received more then 245,000 responses from people claiming to hear a sound accompanying the animation, with 70 per cent of respondents saying they could hear a thudding sound.

One person who suffers from ringing ears replied: "I hear a vibrating thudding sound, and it also cuts out my tinnitus during the camera shake." Others offered explanations as to why.

While another suggested it may have something to do with correlated neuronal activity: "The brain is 'expecting/predicting' what is coming visually and then fires a version of what it expects across the relevant senses. Also explains why some might 'feel' a physical shake."

"My gut says the camera shake is responsible for the entire effect. Anything that shook the camera like that, would probably make the 'thud' sound," posted another Twitter user.

Which is also the explanation which appeals to the gif's creator.

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