Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

An auditory illusion

Abstract

I HERE report a novel and striking auditory illusion, which provides a paradox for theories of pitch perception and auditory localisation1,2; and which varies in correlation with the handedness of the listener. The stimulus configuration which produced the illusion consisted of a sequence of tones, alternating in pitch between 400 Hz and 800 Hz (Fig. 1a). Each tone lasted 250 ms, with no gap between tones. The sequence was presented at equal amplitude to both ears simultaneously; however, when one ear received 400 Hz the other received 800 Hz, and vice versa. Thus the same two-tone combination was presented constantly, but the ear of input for each component switched every 250 ms.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. Plomp, R., and Smoorenberg, G. F., (ed.), Frequency analysis and periodicity detection in hearing (Sijthoff, Leiden, 1970).

  2. Tobias, J. V. (ed.), Foundations of modern auditory theory, 1 and 2 (Academic Press, New York, 1970 and 1972).

  3. Hecaen, H., and de Ajuriaguerra, J., Left-handedness (Grune and Stratten, New York and London, 1964).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Brain, R., Speech disorders, second ed. (Butterworths, London, 1965).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Tunturi, A. R., Am. J. Physiol., 147, 311–319 (1946).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Rosenzweig, M. R., Am. J. Physiol., 169, 147–158 (1951).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bocca, E., Calearo, C., Cassinari, V., and Miglianacca, F., Acta Otolaryngol., 45, 289–304 (1955).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Attneave, F., Scient. Amer., 225, 62–71 (1971).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

DEUTSCH, D. An auditory illusion. Nature 251, 307–309 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1038/251307a0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/251307a0

This article is cited by

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing