We Can ‘Literally’ Hear The Sound Of Silence, New Research Says

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You Can Hear The Sound Of Silence, Interesting Study Says

In a world filled with constant noise and distractions, hearing the sound of silence may seem paradoxical. Yet, recent research reveals that we can actually hear it!

A recent study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University has provided fascinating insights into the perception that we can hear silence. 

The study aimed to settle a long-standing debate on whether silence can be considered a form of auditory experience. Did you know that silence is something you can hear?

Hear The Sound Of Silence

Can You Hear The Sound Of Silence? Scientists Suggest You Can

Traditionally, we think of hearing as the process of perceiving sounds. However, silence is not a sound itself but rather the absence of sound. The study’s lead author, Rui Zhe Goh, a graduate student in philosophy and psychology at Johns Hopkins, explains that their work suggests that silence, surprisingly, can be “heard” as something.

To investigate this further, the researchers used auditory illusions, such as the one-is-more illusion, to conduct their experiments. They introduced periods of pure silence amidst these tests and observed how participants’ brains responded compared to when they encountered conventional, noisy illusion of silence.

According to Chaz Firestone, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences and co-author of the study, philosophers have debated whether silence can be perceived, but no scientific study has directly addressed this question.

By examining whether the brain treats silences in the same way it treats sounds, the researchers aimed to shed light on the matter.

Read more here: The Wisdom of Silence: Learning to Talk Less and Say More

The study involved 1,000 participants who underwent seven different tests. Surprisingly, the researchers found that participants’ brains reacted to silence in the same way they reacted to noise across all tests. This finding suggests that we do indeed perceive silence, even though it represents the absence of any audible stimuli.

The study’s results revealed that silences could “substitute” for sounds in event-based auditory illusions.

The researchers observed temporal distortions in participants’ perception during silences, similar to those experienced with sound-based illusions. These findings indicate that auditory processing treats moments of silence as it treats sounds, providing evidence that silence is genuinely perceived rather than merely inferred.

Ian Phillips, a philosopher and psychologist at Johns Hopkins and co-author of the study, emphasizes that the illusions and effects typically associated with auditory processing of sounds can also occur with silences. This suggests that our perception extends to the absence of sound as well.

While the study’s silences were embedded within various soundscapes, which should be noted as a limitation, the results are still compelling.

Read more here: 7 Incredible Benefits Silence Has On Your Brain

Considering the historical significance of the debate surrounding the perception of silence, this research provides valuable insights. So, next time your words seem to echo in the wells of silence, remember that silence is something you can hear indeed!

Share your thoughts about this news in the comments below!

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