People Have Found A Sweary Audio Illusion Hidden In Toy Story 3

Ken definitely sounds like he's dropping an F-bomb. But why?

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

Barbie and Ken dolls sit on a bed.

If you try it, you can probably hear both. Image credit: Brenda Rocha - Blossom/, Twitter/Zacidk

People have found a sweary audio illusion within Toy Story 3, making it appear as if Ken is dropping the F-bomb in a U-rated movie.

The illusion, first spotted by user Kitty Feely on TikTok, shows Ken (understandably stressed while tied with ropes to a door) saying either "oh Barbie" or "oh f**k", depending on which word the person watching the clip is concentrating on.


Users of TikTok and Twitter (where the clip was widely-shared) claim that they can "hear Barbie", "f**k", or both.

"I always heard 'oh barbie' but as the video started i wasn't paying attention and i heard 'oh f-'," one TikTok user wrote. "I look back, restart the video and i hear BOTH!!"

"I HEARD OH BARBIE THE FIRST TIME AND NOW I CANT HEAR IT ANYMORE," another wrote in the apparent alarm provided by writing in all-caps. 

Though we'd hesitate to call it the definitive answer, it does seem similar in nature to something called the McGurk effect. As shown in the video from the BBC's Horizon program below, this is a phenomenon where your brain can be tricked into hearing different things based on the visual information you are perceiving at the time.


In this case, you won't be able to tell whether you're hearing "baa" or "faa" because of the way the man's mouth is moving. What you see can override what you hear. 

In terms of "Barbie" vs "f**k", the sound information is likely overridden not by what you're seeing at the time, but by what you're expecting to hear. The interference you hear in the clip likely contributes to the ambiguity, helping the McGurk effect. 

If you listen to it fresh, without seeing any of the alternatives beforehand, you will likely hear what it actually says, which you'll be shocked to hear is Ken saying "Barbie" rather than a hard swear.

A similar effect can be seen when listening to the next video. Try not to read the caption, and you will be more likely to hear the original word.

Ok, have you done that? The actual word was "Brainstorm", as the audio was taken from a toy based on a cartoon called Ben 10 which includes a character by that name.


  • tag
  • psychology,

  • illusions,

  • twitter,

  • swearing,

  • TikTok,

  • weird and wonderful,

  • mcgurk effect