Rick Perry, the McGurk Effect, and Why We All Want to Save a Pretzel for the Gas Jets

Before we get started with the giggles, let’s take a moment to talk about the McGurk effect: an interesting audio illusion that comes from our eyes seeing one thing, and our ears hearing another. Specifically, when different video is shown with the exact same audio… viewers will alter what they hear to fit what they see.

Take a look (and a listen):

It’s a crazy effect that shows how one sense can override or hijack another. With the McGurk effect, it’s your eyes causing you to hear something different.

In the case of a recent satirical video by Bad Lip Reading, we end up experiencing something akin to the opposite of the McGurk effect (thanks to the process of audio dubbing).

This video features Presidential hopeful Rick Perry, but the orginal audio has been removed and replaced with another’s voice. In this example… our eyes end up working to adjust what we see, matching it to what we hear. The overdub isn’t perfect, but it’s darn close. And because it’s close enough, our brains are fooled into believing what we hear is actually coming out of Gov. Perry’s mouth.

I have to say – politics aside, this is one freaking hysterical video. It is absurdist humor at its best, and the random phrases has the word nerd in me rolling on the ground. My absolute favorite moment is the slow buildup to the classic “save a pretzel for the gas jets” line. I still break out into giggles every time I hear it.

I haven’t cried from laughter in a long while, and this video set me to tears last night. I’ve had a lot of fun watching people in the office watch it for the first time, and have laughed even more watching them laugh.

// Edit: As an aside, there must be some kind of scientific thing behind watching someone laugh, causing laughter. Blog post to research, for another day.

So there you have it! A quick little lunchtime post on audio, video, and the fallibility of the senses. Two examples that teach us: what you see is what you get, and what you hear is also what you get.

Ice cream!

[Thanks to Allison for the Rick Perry link, and thanks to Justin for the McGurk link!]

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This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. I love your conceptual mashup of this video + the McGurk effect! great post :)

    allison Reply

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