The McGurk effect reveals that what you see can override what you hear. When what you see clashes with what you hear, then what you see can influence what we hear. In the video, the only sound you hear is ‘Ba’, but when the mouth movements change, we hear the sound ‘Fa’ instead (see the video below). The funny things is that the effect works no matter how much you know about the effect. Just like in Shepard tables illusion.
This experiment also shows that when your actions clash with your words, your words may be interpreted by the listeners so as to match you your actions. Some typical examples where behaviours can override words and be perceived as threat to psychological safety in the workplace:
- The manager emphasises the importance of collaborative team culture, yet he seldom asks his team for their opinion, often delivers monologues at meetings and makes disparaging comments on ideas that differ from his view.
- The team has agreed that they give each other immediate and honest feedback, yet some colleagues criticise their team mates and their work behind their back and nobody turns their attention to the team agreement.