Listen to the audio file below. Do you experience a switch in the tune?
Media Licence:
Music vector created by Freepik

Instructions

Click on the “play” button below. When listening, think whether the tune is changing or is stable,

Effect

You should experience the tune to switch between two different tunes, in a similar way that a Gestalt switch happens in some visual experiences.

Listen to the audio file below. Do you experience a switch in the tune?
Media Licence:
Music vector created by Freepik
  • Bistable Auditory Stimulus
    Listen to the audio file below. Do you experience a switch in the tune?
    Media Licence:
    Music vector created by Freepik
    Media Source:
    www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/music

Audio File 

Bistable stimuli can be perceived in two separate ways. The sound you hear can be heard in two ways: as triplets of an A-B-A pattern or as two simultaneous streams of an A-A-A-A pattern and a B-B-B-B pattern.

Typically, discussions of illusory experiences focus on visual illusions. But auditory illusions (and illusions in other sensory modalities, including cross-modal ones) are also interesting. Illusions in general provide us with cases in which what we experience doesn't seem to match reality. If that's right, we are not experiencing reality, and we can ask what it is that we are experincing. If that's not right, then we can ask why we appear to experience something that doesn't match reality, and whether we really are experiencing what we take ourselves to be experiencing. Illusions in sensory modalities other than vision show us that this issue affects experiences in other modalities, such as audition, touch, taste, smell, and so on.

An interesting question is whether there are any interesting similarities in illusory experiences across different sensory modalities. Bistable auditory stimulus illusions support an affirmative answer to this question. The experience of being able to auditorily experience two different tunes in response to the one stimulus is reminiscent of visual ambiguous figures, such as the Duck-Rabbit, which is one image that can elecit two very different visual experiences: that of a duck or that of a rabbit. Common to all these illusions is that they can cause two (or more) different experiences. You may want to search for other ambiguous stimuli in the Illusions Index.

Jastow's Duck/Rabbit Ambiguous Figure

 

How To Cite This Article

Author and Citation Info

Please cite this article as follows:

Baysan, U. and Macpherson, F. (July 2017), “Bistable Auditory Stimulus” in F. Macpherson (ed.), The Illusions Index. Retrieved from https://www.illusionsindex.org/i/bistable-audio.

Citation copied to clipboard

This article is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC_SA 4.0)

Suggest an Illusion

Suggest an Illusion

Explore the Illusions Index

Explore Illusions

Found an error?

Report it to let us know - we'll get it fixed as soon as possible.

Report an Error