Why can some people hear this silent animation?

image credit: @IAMHAPPYTOAST

A tweet by Dr Lisa Debruine has ‘gone viral’, receiving a reported 245,000 responses and gaining attention from the BBC’s Social News Team.

The issue in question 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 and resurfaced again when Dr Lisa DeBruine posted it on Twitter, asking followers to describe whether they experienced any auditory sensations while watching it.

Dr Debruine’s tweet has received over 29,000 retweets and 48,000 likes with around 70 per cent of respondents claiming they could hear a thudding sound.

Lisa said: "I don't know why some people hear it very clearly, others only feel it, and others perceive nothing at all. Some deaf and hard of hearing people have reported all three perceptions, as have people with aphantasia."

"I thought some of the vision scientists I follow would be able to explain it right away, but it seems like there are several plausible explanations and no clear consensus."

 Read the BBC News article

First published: 6 December 2017