The sentences you are about to hear have been distorted by a computer so they no longer sound like speech. Listen to each sentence and try to guess what the person is saying. After you reveal the answer, listen to the distorted version again to see what your brain can do.
Make sure your speakers are on before you play!
In this activity, you hear a sentence that has been distorted by a computer. The sounds are muddled and squeaky, and it is tricky to understand what is being said. Then you hear the same sentence without distortion, for instance: “There’s coffee on that seat.” A woman’s voice speaks clearly, making it easy to understand.
Surprisingly, when you go back and listen to the distorted sentence again, you can understand the muddled words. Your brain is now using existing knowledge – from the clear sentence that you heard – to interpret that information. Once your brain knows what is being said, it applies the information and makes sense of the distorted sound.
Sometimes, your brain takes in sensory data layer by layer to piece together what’s happening. This is called “bottom-up processing.” More often - as is happening in this activity - your brain operates in a “top-down” manner, making predictions based on previous knowledge. This saves time, but because each person’s prior experiences are unique, top-down processing can cause people to perceive the same information in different ways.
Can you tell what this person is saying?
Click Replay to hear the distorted sentence again.
Click Answer to hear the undistorted version and read what the person is saying.
Click Replay again to listen to the distorted sentence once more.
Click Next to move on the next sentence.