Enter the maze

The face base rap experiment

Try this one at home

A line of paper chain figures - one with headphones

You and two friends can experiment with the McGurk effect yourself. One of your friends is the OBSERVER. Have them look directly at your face, and have your other friend, let's call them the HIDDEN SPEAKER, stand behind the OBSERVER so the OBSERVER can't see their face.

Now start to silently and repeatedly mouth the monosyllabic word (that is one syllable word) 'face'. At the same time your HIDDEN SPEAKER friend behind the OBSERVER says the word 'base' over and over again (you might want to use hand signals to synchronise the actions, so the hidden speaker wags their finger to set the beat). After about ten repetitions stop and ask your OBSERVER what they 'hear' - they should 'hear' face (even though base is the word being spoken!). Now try it again, but this time have your OBSERVER close their eyes. As they can't be confused by what they see they should just hear 'base'.

Experiment with what happens if you ask your observer to open and close their eyes while you and the hidden speaker are doing your 'base', 'face' rap. The theory predicts that when the observer can see the word 'face' being mouthed that's what they will hear. Try using different monosyllabic words, or syllables like Ba and Pa, or even try having the observer close their eyes and feel the persons face. Perhaps you can come up with your own idea to test ... that's how research works.

Who knows you might find a new clue to help unlock the secrets of the brain!