Studies of adults and children show that there is a change in which sense is the default one used when recalling what was previously heard.

Below the age of 10, it seems that children rely mostly on what they hear to make sense of the world. They are less likely to be tricked for example by a visual illusion. Below that age the auditory centres of the brain develop quicker than the visual ones.

Adults on the other hand rely more on sight.

This can be useful but it can also be a problem. If only two out of three syllables from a word are heard.., so long as the person sees the mouth moving in the shape of the third syllable then usually the brain can put them together and create cohesive understanding even in a noisy area.

However, as we get older this tendency to rely more on what is seen as confirmation, can cause us to discount or distort actual verbalised speech into something different due to this bias. We can in effect, create false memories of what we heard.

The classic saying of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ applies here.

Exceptions apply of course. Some highly auditory people do the opposite.

I’m reminded of a saying that goes “What you are doing speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say”.

I knew there was a reason why I liked that saying.

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