When Sight Shapes Sound (And Vice Versa)

By Carl Zimmer | December 16, 2011 12:27 am

We take in streams of information of radically different forms: photons through the eyes, textures through the skin, air vibrations through the ears, molecules through the nose. Marvelously, we manage to integrate all that information into a unified, coherent feel of the world. It turns out that as we draw in these different streams, we use information from one sense to shape what we take in from others. It’s an efficient way to make the most of our imperfect perceptions. But it also leaves us vulnerable to some remarkable illusions, like the one illustrated in this video.

In my latest column for Discover, I explore our powers of multi-sensory integration. Check it out.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Brains, Writing Elsewhere
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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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