People Are Losing Their Minds Over This ‘Noisy Gif’ You Can Apparently Hear
Remember dressgate? Well, now the internet’s losing its shit over another viral picture, this time a gif that people swear they can hear.
Now if you know anything about gifs you know that they don’t make a sound. They’re just a few frames of looped video. But apparently we’re staring down the barrel of something new and terrifying. The noisy gif.
Here’s the gif in question, created by @IamHappyToast back in 2008, which inexplicably features a power pylon… skipping. Have a look and see if you hear anything:
Hi there, yeah, for some reason people like cropping my name off the bottom pic.twitter.com/ekcOWeQNbR
— HappyToast ★ (@IamHappyToast) December 4, 2017
If you’re anything like the rest of the internet, you might have just heard (or felt) a thump every time the pylon landed. The gif has gone viral after Dr. Lisa DeBruine from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology stumbled across it a few days ago. Almost 200,000 people responded to say they could indeed hear something.
It’s not the only gif to cause this effect, either — people have also reported hearing similar sound effects when watching the gif below. In fact, there’s actually an entire subreddit dedicated to “noisy gifs”, which you can check out if you want to hear more of this stuff.
— Lisa DeBruine ????️???? (@lisadebruine) December 4, 2017
Given that all the gifs in question are definitely not making any actual sounds, though, people are understandably spooked, and have been wildly speculating as to what the cause of the illusion is.
My favourite explanation so far is that this triggers the acoustic reflex, which is usually triggered by speech or loud noises. https://t.co/OjHX84xs4C
— Lisa DeBruine ????️???? (@lisadebruine) December 3, 2017
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.
— Jeff Weiss (@weissjeffm) December 4, 2017
The BBC even asked some experts about it, and they delivered a couple of pretty interesting potential explanations. Chris Fassnidge, a doctoral candidate is psychology, told the BBC that one possible explanation might be a theory he’s been researching called the “visual ear” — “the ability of some people to hear moving objects even though they don’t make a sound, which may be a subtle form of synaesthesia – the triggering of one sense by another.”
It’s pretty amazing what the human brain can do. It’s also pretty amazing that a human brain made this in the first place — props to @IamHappyToast for bringing us this latest bizarre internet delight. You should can check out their other animation work here, and you can see a collection of other sound-making gifs here.
Feature image from animation created by @IamHappyToast