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Senses: Sound Familiar?

How we find meaning in the din

Vision is our primary sense, judging by the great expanse of brain devoted to conveying info from the eyes. But sound is the primary conveyor of emotion. Talk to someone who's witnessed a horrifying event—he'll describe the noises. In movies and on TV, sound also carries more meaning than images. Watch a sitcom with the sound on but the picture off and you'll probably follow the story line just fine. But making sense of a muted program is much trickier.

In the '50s, a film editor named Jack Foley assembled a studio to create movie sound effects using readily available sources. Even today, TV and movie "Foley artists" (as they're called) employ substitute sound effects that are often more convincing than the original: The real sound of a fist striking a face isn't that dramatic, but the Foley substitute will make you squirm. Some effects are straightforward (a door sounds like a door), but others—like the ones on the right—are less obvious. —Richard Restak, M.D., and Scott Kim

Your mission:

Guess which Foley prop mimics the sounds of each object.

Cinematic sound effect

1. Bone crushing

2. Rustling clothes

3. Bicycle

4. Car suspension

5. Boat

6. Fire

7. Ice cubes

Foley substitute

A. Newspaper being crunched up

B. Squeaky chair

c. Pen caps floating in glass

d. Celery

e. Creaky floor

f. Pillowcase

g. Luggage cart

Answers: 1:D; 2:F; 3:G; 4:B; 5:E; 6:A; 7:C

Adapted from The Playful Brain by arrangement with Riverhead, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2010 by Richard Restak and Scott Kim