Stairway to Heaven backwards

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Chapter 3 endnote 7, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

Your knowledge of concepts is a key ingredient for experiencing other people as emotional, and emotion words invoke this ingredient. And they could be largely responsible for producing what looks like universal emotion perception in the hundreds of studies that use the basic emotion method.

You can experience priming of this kind yourself using the song "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. According to rumor, if you play this song backwards, the reversed vocals contain secret messages about devil worship. It's not true, but by ramping up your simulations, you can prime yourself to hear these messages.

  1. Visit YouTube and locate a video that plays the song backwards while displaying Satanic lyrics.
  2. Close your eyes and listen to the backwards music (or part of it). It should sound like jumble of sound.
  3. Now open your eyes and play the video again, reading the lyrics while the song plays backward. You will hear those devil-worship messages with crystal clarity.

The words on the screen are priming you to simulate, and the associated conceptual knowledge literally changes what you hear. This is a fancy version of the McGurk effect.

See also