Friday, June 17, 2022

The McGurk Effect and Covid-19

    The McGurk Effect is defined as “a powerful multisensory illusion occurring with audiovisual speech.” In order for this experiment to take place, a voice must be recorded which articulates a consonant. The acoustic speech alone is able to be recognized without any confusion. For example, if the recorded voice is saying “Ba, ba, ba” and an individual listens only, they will be able to identify this sound. However, after incorporating a visual aspect into the recorded voice, an individual is typically no longer able to correctly identify the recorded voice. An individual may hear “Da, da, da” instead, for example. 

    The McGurk Effect has sparked limitless amounts of research. According to researchers, the “reason for the great impact is that this is a striking demonstration of multisensory integration.” The McGurk Effect integrates auditory and visual information and tries to merge them into a unified percept. The McGurk Effect is one which may be complicated to understand for individuals—myself included. This YouTube video provides a detailed explanation as well as an example of the McGurk Effect and I highly recommend watching for clarification:

    Overall, the McGurk Effect takes place when an individual incorrectly perceives what another individual’s lip movements are saying. The McGurk Effect can affect individuals in daily life—especially during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. As everyone knows, the pandemic brought about challenges such as wearing a mask while in public and while interacting with other individuals. It is no surprise that with the masks, one may misinterpret what is being said as what one is seeing, and hearing does not align with one another. Without seeing an individual’s lips during conversation, communication becomes extremely difficult and can produce inaccurate results at times. There is lots of information regarding how the McGurk Effect has become a critical aspect during the Covid-19 pandemic and I recommend doing further research if interested!


Gordon, S. (2021, February 2). What is the McGurk effect? How covid-19 masks impact communication. VeryWell Mind.  

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I thought your post about the McGurk Effects was really interesting. I really liked the fact that you included present day problems related to that topic. I have often tried to read peoples lips as they were taking to me, but was never successful. I applaud those who are able to do it. I can see why wearing masks could be a problem for those that rely on that skill. I have noticed that later on during the pandemic, people started to wear clear masks, so people could still see their lips as they talked.