The McGurk effect is an illusion that occurs when an auditory /ba/ is combined with a visual /ga/. The two stimuli fuse together which leads to the perception of /da/, a sound in between /ba/ and /ga/. The purpose of this study was to determine whether music performance and visual arts majors process mismatched auditory and visual stimuli, like the McGurk effect, differently. Nine syllable pairs were presented to 10 native English speakers (5 music performance majors and 5 visual arts majors between the ages of 18 and 28 years) in a four-forced-choice response paradigm. Data from event-related potentials were recorded for each participant. Results demonstrate that there are differences in the electrophysiological responses to viewing the mismatched syllable pairs. The /ga/ phoneme in the music performance group produced more differences while the /da/ phoneme produced more differences in the visual arts group. The McGurk effect is processed differently in the music performance majors and the visual arts majors; processing begins in the earliest latency epoch in the visual arts group but in the late latency epoch in the music performance group. These results imply that the music performance group has a more complex decoding system than the visual arts group. It also may suggest that the visual arts group is better able to integrate the visual and auditory information to resolve the conflict when mismatched signals are presented.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





auditory perception, brain mapping, dipole localization, electroencephalography, event-related potentials, visual perception