If a new study is to be believed, then watching even silent videos can excite the listening brain.
The study, by Kaspar Meyer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and colleagues, has shown that silent videos that merely imply sound - such as of someone playing a musical instrument - still get processed by auditory regions of the brain, reports New Scientist.
AdvertisementAs part of the study, the researchers showed eight volunteers nine silent video clips that implied sound, including people playing violins, a dog howling and chainsaws cutting into trees.
As they watched, their brains were scanned using functional MRI.
Each type of implied sound created a unique pattern of brain activity in the "early auditory cortices" - regions thought to be devoted to the initial processing of sounds.
After noting these patterns in a several of the volunteers, the researchers were able to predict which type of video other volunteers had watched, just from the activity in the auditory cortices.
The volunteers also reported imagining the sounds as they watched the videos.
The results broaden the role of regions previously thought only to be involved in initial sensory processing.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.