This can happen with our hearing as well. Case in point, I worked in a studio in the 70's that had a three-way toggle switch on the master panel that was not only unlabeled, but was no longer connected to anything. One day I decided to label the up position "Aphex" and the down postion "B-phex," with the middle position labeled as off.
The Aphex aural exciter was really hot at the time and there was a lot of press about it, although most people had never heard it, and there was never such a thing as B-phex. I would have clients every day that would argue over which sounded better - Aphex or B-phex. The truth was that the switch wasn't connected to either, but the clients truly believed that they heard something different.
Sometimes I'd even use it to my advantage with a particularly difficult client. "Turn on the B-phex and that will take care of your problem," was all I would have to say. Unbelievably, most of the time it really did.
Enjoy this short video. It has nothing to do with audio, but you can use some of the techniques to your advantage in the studio.
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