Soundscapes to Trick Your Brain

This time has made me think about all of the things that I can do without and the things that I take for granted. This recent article (MyNoise brings you realistic “soundscapes” from the outside world) reminded me of the way that sounds color our world when our other senses are taken away.

When I was in high school, my family went to Walt Disney World. Disney is famous for blurring the lines between fantasy and reality in their parks but I had an experience that taught me something important about our five senses and what it takes immerse someone in a completely unique experience.

We went on a “ride” called “Alien Encounter.” It really was more of an experience than an actual ride. After being led through a line maze and a “lesson” about how the scientists were study alien life, we are all seated in an auditorium circling an enormous glass tube that housed a very realistic alien. Then, the fun starts. The lights go out and you hear the sound of glass breaking (the very tube that the alien was securely kept in). In the darkness your other senses are heightened. You are surprised when you feel a spray of water on your face. You start to hear noises and even though you can’t see anything, you are acutely aware that the alien is now roaming free about the auditorium where you are securely restrained. At one point, you can hear snarling noises just above your head and feel the warm breath of the creature on the back of your neck while every inch of your skin is now covered in goosebumps. Just before you are about to die of a heart attack, it is all over and the lights come back on and there is no alien about to eat you for lunch!

This made me think about the idea of a psychological thriller where the kidnapper uses specific sounds to manipulate their blindfolded victim.


Soundscapes could be used to brighten the day of someone who has gone blind.


A villain has set up an elaborate game with detectives when they are led by sounds broadcast through the PA system of a school or hospital.


For someone who is paralyzed, the soundscapes can give them some control over their environment. A former chef misses hearing the clanging and banging of a busy kitchen or a journalist years to hear the buzz of activity in their newsroom.


What if sounds are played in the background to throw off detectives or give misinformation to 911 operators?

Who wants to talk more about how you can use this idea in your current or next story?

[Credit: flickr/Tinh tế Photo]
Categories acoustics, moviesTags , , ,
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