The Man Who Hears People Before They Speak
2013 07 08
By Helen Thomson | NewScientist
"I told my daughter her living room TV was out of sync. Then I noticed the kitchen telly was also dubbed badly. Suddenly I noticed that her voice was out of sync too. It wasn’t the TV, it was me."
Ever watched an old movie, only for the sound to go out of sync with the action? Now imagine every voice you hear sounds similarly off-kilter – even your own. That’s the world PH lives in. Soon after surgery for a heart problem, he began to notice that something wasn’t quite right.
"I was staying with my daughter and they like to have the television on in their house. I turned to my daughter and said ’you ought to get a decent telly, one where the sound and programme are synchronised’. I gave a little chuckle. But they said ’there’s nothing wrong with the TV’."
Puzzled, he went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. "They’ve got another telly up on the wall and it was the same. I went into the lounge and I said to her ’hey you’ve got two TVs that need sorting!’."
That was when he started to notice that his daughter’s speech was out of time with her lip movements too. "It wasn’t the TV, it was me. It was happening in real life."
PH is the first confirmed case of someone who hears people speak before registering the movement of their lips. His situation is giving unique insights into how our brains unify what we hear and see.
It’s unclear why PH’s problem started when it did – but it may have had something to do with having acute pericarditis, inflammation of the sac around the heart, or the surgery he had to treat it.
Brain scans after the timing problems appeared showed two lesions in areas thought to play a role in hearing, timing and movement. "Where these came from is anyone’s guess," says PH. "They may have been there all my life or as a result of being in intensive care."
Several weeks later, PH realised that it wasn’t just other people who were out of sync: when he spoke, he registered his words before he felt his jaw make the movement. "It felt like a significant delay, it sort of snuck up on me. It was very disconcerting. At the time I didn’t know whether the delay was going to get bigger, but it seems to have stuck at about a quarter of a second."
Light and sound travel at different speeds, so when someone speaks, visual and auditory inputs arrive at our eyes and ears at different times. The signals are then processed at different rates in the brain. Despite this, we normally perceive the events as happening simultaneously – but how the brain achieves this is unclear.
To investigate PH’s situation, Elliot Freeman at City University London and colleagues performed a temporal order judgement test. PH was shown clips of people talking and was asked whether the voice came before or after the lip movements. Sure enough, he said it came before, and to perceive them as synchronous the team had to play the voice about 200 milliseconds later than the lip movements.
The team then carried out a second, more objective test based on the McGurk illusion. This involves listening to one syllable while watching someone mouth another; the combination makes you perceive a third syllable.
Since PH hears people speaking before he sees their lips move, the team expected the illusion to work when they delayed the voice. So they were surprised to get the opposite result: presenting the voice 200 ms earlier than the lip movements triggered the illusion, suggesting that his brain was processing the sight before the sound in this particular task.
And it wasn’t only PH who gave these results. When 37 others were tested on both tasks, many showed a similar pattern, though none of the mismatches were noticeable in everyday life.
Freeman says this implies that the same event in the outside world is perceived by different parts of your brain as happening at different times. This suggests that, rather than one unified "now", there are many clocks in the brain – two of which showed up in the tasks – and that all the clocks measure their individual "nows" relative to their average.
Read the full article at: newscientist.com
Decoding Space and Time in the Brain
"Laws of Physics for a Holographic Universe" --New Theories of Space-Time
The Brain’s Stopwatch – Emotions and Time Perception
Why Time is a Social Construct
Mind reading Sharjah Girl ‘exceedingly rare’ savant
Fractal Minds and the Sacred Cosmology : Neuroscience & Psychology meets Esoteric Religion
Latest News from our Front Page
Syrian rebels consider joining forces with regime troops to fight al-Qa’ida (of course! why not?)
2013 12 04
The old adage to ’love thy enemy’ takes on new meaning with news that the western-backed Syrian Rebels may join forces with Assad-regime troops in order to struggle against al-Qa’ida.
Since 2011 the factions that compose the Free Syrian Army have been clashing with Syrian government troops in civil war ( in also what many have described as a western-backed mercenary ...
Nuclear experts suggest Fukushima consider ‘controlled discharge’ of toxic water into ocean
2013 12 04
Nuke News: An IAEA Director’s rationale in dumping radioactive water into the ocean? - Everybody else is doing it!
More from RT on controlled discharges...
IAEA suggests Fukushima consider ‘controlled discharge’ of toxic water into ocean
The UN nuclear watchdog has advised the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to consider dumping toxic water into the ocean after lowering the ...
Gender-Bending BPA Causes Migraines, Cancer & Infertility
2013 12 04
Researchers at the University of Kansas (UoK) have released a new study regarding bisphenol A (BPA) shows a link between migraines and the chemical.
This report found that BPA causes debilitating headaches in 1 out of 7 persons who ingest the contaminant.
Those who react to BPA with migraines are advised to avoid microwave trays, plastic bottles, canned goods and water coolers.
Is Humanity Declaring Checkmate On The New World Order?
2013 12 04
What is the line between confidence and acknowledgement of victory? Early celebration versus clear vision of how nature will handle a conflict within itself? Is victory and hope truly all imaginary or is there something more to it?
As humanity exponentially wakes up to the plans of the global elite (those in power, the ruling class, the “Illuminati” or whatever you ...
Getting Your News From Hollywood
2013 12 04
Imagine a documentary film about the Holocaust which makes no mention of Nazi Germany.
Imagine a documentary film about the 1965-66 slaughter of as many as a million “communists” in Indonesia which makes no mention of the key role in the killing played by the United States.
But there’s no need to imagine it. It’s been made, and was released this past ...
|More News » |