September 9, 2003

Gives Me Chills

Dave experienced some strange phenomenon last night - listening to the radio late at night, as is his self-proclaimed habit during the night when his wife is out of town, he heard a news story about infrasound: tones below 20 Hz that can create feelings in listeners.

Slashdot recently reported the same, relating that the study indicated that infrasound might offer a logic behind those who believe in ghosts and haunted houses.

From the Reuters report linked to from slashdot:

British scientists have shown in a controlled experiment that the extreme bass sound known as infrasound produces a range of bizarre effects in people including anxiety, extreme sorrow and chills -- supporting popular suggestions of a link between infrasound and strange sensations.

I'm curious how infrasound might be used for games to create emotive effects (especially fear). Along the same lines, I wonder if it has been used - intentionally or not - in other media (dave mentions that the radio show reported that "composers have for some time used infrasound at "apocalyptic moments" in their works").

Posted by Jason at September 9, 2003 12:41 PM | TrackBack

hmmm. maybe it's because i'm rereading frankenstein today, but deploying these tones makes me a bit nervous. not so long as the "hearer" knows it's happening, as in your multisensory game environmnet. but when i think of the moments that have given me chills and made me sad, the possibility of thought control is uncool. imagine a group gathered for some sort of memorial this thursday being blasted with the "infrasound cannon."

Posted by: dave at September 9, 2003 1:09 PM | Permalink to Comment

Well, assuming that it's not happening already ;)

But yes, disclaimers would have to abound, certainly.

Although I remember a particularly creepy moment in my gaming life, as I was playing Black & White late into the night. Every once in a while, in a discreet, creepy whisper, I would hear:


I finally realized that it happened when a villager died, but it still creeped me out. Chills and all...

Posted by: Jason at September 9, 2003 1:14 PM | Permalink to Comment

oh, my. that IS creepy.

Posted by: dave at September 9, 2003 2:29 PM | Permalink to Comment
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