People Are Claiming They Can Hear This Silent GIF - Can You?

Remember that whole 'is the dress blue, is the dress gold?' fiasco? Well, if you liked that, you're going to absolutely love this.

GIFs are silent, right? That's part of their primitive appeal.

However, people all over the world are adamant that they can hear this one. What do you reckon?

The GIF shows two large pylons swinging their cables like a skipping rope, while a third jumps over them rhythmically, shaking the camera every time it comes crashing to the ground.

There is no sound accompanying the animation, but a shocking number of people claim to be able to hear a thudding noise every time the pylon lands.

Internet users on sites such as Reddit and Imgur have been discussing the phenomenon of noisy GIFs for well over six years now, with users of the latter describing the effect as 'an optical illusion for the ears'.

This particular GIF was brought to the net's attention again last week, when it was shared on Twitter by Dr Lisa DeBruine from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow.

Credit: University of Glasgow

She asked her followers to tell her what they experienced while watching the clip by filling in a poll.

Astoundingly, the vast majority of people claimed to be able to hear a sound.

Dr DeBruine told the BBC: "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 [a lack of visual imagery].

"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."


Dr DeBruine's Twitter thread caught the attention of Chris Fassnidge, a doctoral candidate in psychology at London's City University, who has been conducting research on the phenomena.

"I suspect the noisy GIF phenomenon is closely related to what we call the Visually-Evoked Auditory Response, or vEAR for short," explained Fassnidge to the BBC.

"This is 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.

"We are constantly surrounded by movements that make a sound, whether they are footsteps as people walk, lip movements while they talk, a ball bouncing in the playground, or the crash as we drop a glass. There is some evidence to suggest that synaesthetic pairings are, to some extent, learned during infancy."


"I might assume I am hearing the footsteps of a person walking on the other side of the street, when really the sound exists only in my mind," Fassnidge continued.

"So this may be a common phenomenon because the sound makes sense, but for that exact reason we may not even know we have this unusual ability until the noisy gif suddenly came along in the last few years.

"What determines who experiences vEAR and how intensely is probably individual differences in how our brain is wired."

Can you hear it?

Words: Paddy Maddison

Featured Image Credit: @IAmHappyToast

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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