I spend my whole life listening critically to things. I was 100% YANNY on two sets of headphones and signal amplification paths. When I moved the slider bar about 1.5 notches to the left, LAUREL sort of "came into focus", and I felt like I grasped the human voice behind this severely distorted recording. Then, when I moved the slider back to the neutral position, I could not hear YANNY at all anymore. Only by taking a brief pause could I 'reset' my brain to hearing YANNY.
There's another processing step going on that helps us deal with distorted or band-limited voices. We're reconstructing in our heads the ideal sonic image of the human voice we're supposed to be hearing.
I hypothesize that if the sample in question came at the end of a few words by the speaker, not related semantically, e.g. "right, seven, purple, elephant, laurel", so the listener could reconstruct a more complete "imprint" of the speaker's voice in their mind, the YANNY outcome would drop to <1%.
Perception is about matching input to pre-conscious expectation. Once your brain has been primed to one word, you keep on hearing it when given an ambiguous signal.
Keyword: "priming", there's a lot of research on the topic.
It is really cool that small contextual information can change our senses so dramatically without us being aware of it happening.
Similarly, for this clip, Laurel is a name (and also otherwise a word) that I've heard quite a few times in my live, while I've never heard Yanny neither as a name nor a regular word.
Fortunate soul has been spared from Yanni the musician: https://youtu.be/Xw7HeJ781Do (actually not so bad I guess)
The video sparks thousands of comments on Reddit and Facebook, many of them amounting to "I hear <X> and the rest of you are wrong!" -- surely in jest most of the time.
You have to wonder what fraction of people have the healthy response of "I hear <X> but I want to try to hear <Y> like other people, interesting."
Same with that blue vs gold dress "debate." -- Why is it a debate?
I don't mean to suck the fun out of it, though. But I do think it's a caricature of human nature in general.
We often don't mind things that have a subjective element such as :- do you like tofu or not. We are prepared to tolerate the differences between people
Our biggest mistake is often to mistake ourselves as the golden sample of what the truth is, so normally, if this wasn't a viral thing exposing that people hear it differently, if we hear yanny, then it must be yanny, and how did these other people hear the wrong thing?
So it's good when we get gentle reminders that we need to question the truth of our perceptions and that it can be tricky to establish what the truth is.
Reality is objective, we can measure the spectrum of this audio clip, or the RGB values on the image of the dress. But the reality we experience is subjective, whether we hear laurel or yanny, whether the dress is blue or gold. What we see, what we hear, what we taste, it all gets subconsciously pre-processed before it reaches out conscious mind. To tie into another HN article from yesterday, an expensive bottle of wine does taste better to us, even if it's exactly the same wine inside. The objective reality is that it's the same wine, but our subjective reality, from what we see, from what we taste, is that the expensive bottle is a fine wine.
Plato recognised this when he penned the Allegory of the Cave (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave)
I've started to apply this realisation to life in general. If someone has a different viewpoint, I try to understand why they think that way, what has caused them to have that belief. So often in this day and age, people have a set opinion and think that if you disagree you're a bad person, or being deliberately wrong or lying.
As much as I hate to wade into the Trump debate and American politics, this has been one of the failures of the left in the USA. Instead of trying to understand why somebody might support Trump, instead of trying to view the world through a different lens, they just tried to demonise Trump supporters and convince everybody that if they voted for Trump they were bad people.
The political Right do exactly the same thing. Instead of trying to understand the viewpoint of the left, they accuse them of being socialists and hating America.
“Whenever I listen to him, it’s like he’s telling me something I already knew,” Mr. Logan says. “Learning is remembering.”
( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/style/jordan-peterson-12-... )
People don't say it with a serious tone. It's mostly a friendly jab. It's similar to how people say "Chicago has the best deep dish and anyone who says otherwise is simply WRONG". The exaggeration is meant to be a joke
I naturally joked that I would leave my SO since we're not hearing the same thing, and therefore can't possibly communicate well together; it was only in jest but I could feel this shape of segregation comes all too naturally and appeals to a deeper brain.
I'm happy the Internet lets us to be so honest and have a break from real life where no real argument takes place anymore because it has become bad social behavior.
The Earth is, after all, an organic computer, and humans are ideas with bodies, thrown into a contest of the fittest. Maybe the planet is just a single cosmic neuron, whose output will be the surviving ideas, weighted by how many humans support them.
It's certainly reasonable and "healthy" to confidently exclaim the latter. I'm quite confident in the fact that I heard "laurel" in the same way I'm confident that 2 + 2 = 4, and I truly believe any other answer to be wrong.
Now, the hearing test is presented in such a way that it would be "healthy" to assume there's more to it - that what you heard may be heard differently from others; this is an interesting yet unintuitive phenomenon. But, of course it's also healthy to assume the reverse. Maybe it's presented in a pseudo-phenomenological manner. Maybe it wants you to assume that some people hear the other word - a trick question. Maybe some people then would confidently and healthily exclaim that what they heard is correct, and no other answer is suitable.
Now, between "yanny" and "laurel", if you said you heard "lemon"...well maybe that's unhealthy - get your hearing checked.
"I heard 'Laurel'" is also a very different statement from "The recording says 'Laurel.'" If you heard "Laurel," you heard "Laurel," nobody can tell you otherwise. But you might not have heard what was actually on the recording. Someone might have overdubbed a distorted version of "Yanny."
I don't know about healthy, but if my goal is the shared pursuit of knowledge and truth, someone who's able to meaningfully distinguish the ways in which they're confident of these various statements will be much more helpful to me than someone who does not. (Unless that person is a superhuman oracle who simply knows the truth of all things and does not need to reason about them, in which case, Lord, I am not worthy...)
More information: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peano_axioms
This one is even more interesting for me:
If I think "Brainstorm" I hear that, but if I think "Green Needle" I hear that.
To me, the "Laurel" "Yanny" wasn't as interesting, because I could clearly hear both at the same time in different registers. But I really like this example because I can't hear "brainstorm" and "green needle" at the same time - it really seems like my brain shuts the other one off once I start listening to the audio.
And then it turns out we're very much in the same boat.
We're really good at adjusting to these little mistakes, covering them up, because they're insignificant. But we do them constantly...and then forget they happened. I think that most of us overestimate humans' abilities in really mundane matters. We do well, not because we don't make mistakes, but because we recover from them quickly. (And when they're done in a social context, we have rules of politeness that usually allow us to forgive others' tiny mistakes.)
That high evaluation of our own cognitive ability means that an AI that's "less" than that, which makes "silly" mistakes, isn't good enough. Even if an AI makes far fewer mistakes than a human would at some task, any mistake is evidence that it's not good enough, because "no human would have made that mistake". Our meta-perception of our own perception is so clouded by (natural) hubris that we can't even realistically imagine a typical human's performance for comparison.
This, to me, was a great revelation about the human mind when I studied AI: perception is hard, and I'm actually not that good at it. I just muddle through, with some kind of metaprocess smoothing over all these silly little bumps. (And there's an interesting link here, too, to old meditative practices.)
This effect very well might be just a side effect of humans' subconscious ability to focus on a single conversation in a noisy room.
It may be that how well you are able to "hear" (hallucinate) overtones is involved in this effect. Moving into the bathroom changed what I heard, and extra reflection of sound would alter overtone perception. I interpret that as (rather weak) evidence for the hypothesis.
The basic idea here is that if the harmonic match of the two fundamental (actual) tones isn't exact, then some listeners will hear the overtone, but less sensitive (or perhaps more refined) listeners' brains won't hear it. And many conditions will make it easier or harder for the listener's brain to (falsely but vividly) infer the overtone, including a lot of acoustic reflection (my bathroom example.) Completely knocking out one of the two fundamental tones will change what's heard by some - since now everyone will be hearing the same thing.
Similarly, shifting all frequencies up or down, even if all the information is preserved, can cause everyone to lose the overtone since the overtone is now at a frequency above (or below) what we can hear, so the brain doesn't hallucinate what is beyond it's capacity.
>long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.
We were convinced for months before my friends and I got our hands on a decent decibel reader (didn't trust the phone apps) and it strays well past 85 up to 95 even, for up to 20-30 seconds between stops.
If you ever see a group of nerds with earplugs in our ears shouting at each other on BART, that's my friends and I, we carry extra individually packed earplugs, feel free to ask us for a pair.
Do you have evidence to support this claim because it goes against my own research.
And I'm not even talking about big headphones, which do tend to leak a lot of sound, I'm talking about the little earbuds. The sound level in their ears must be off the charts.
I've had documented hearing loss since I was a toddler and for the life of me, no matter _how_ hard I try, I just cannot hear yanny. I really wish I could hear it.
Almost impossible for me to hear 'Laurel'. It's Yanny all day, over here.
One example I remember: if you play the opening line of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" ("life is a mystery") it was supposed to sound like, "he will save us, Satan."
It's like pareidolia, but with sound. Once primed, you can hear whichever version you were primed with.
Pareidolia includes sound. So this is paredolia. ;)
So I end up interpreting the Yanny/Laurel thing through the lens of a pre-existing anxiety regarding hearing loss. I have no idea if that's actually the right way to think of it, but nevertheless it's where my mind goes instinctually.
I find that if I move the slider while the sound is playing, or if I move the slider really slowly, my ears stick to the last word I heard.
Another thing is that the speakers matter. I can't hear Laural on my laptop, but I can hear it on my phone.
I suspect this has to do with frequency aliasing and high frequency hearing loss.
Also I checked on a couple of videos to test my hearing range because I expected it to be quite damaged and assumed that was the main factor and even though it's not a very good form of testing I'm now more convinced that it's the brain treating slight variations differently, with priming playing a strong influencing factor.
I found the balance point (a bit to the right of center) where I could merely think yanny or laurel to myself in a random sequence and I would hear the matching word 100% of the time.
I finally know what it feels like to have the power to change radio stations with my mind!
Not feeling so loquacious just now but if you want to dig deeper the threads to pull are perception as bayesian inference and the sampling hypothesis. Olshausen and co are a good place to start.
* I still don't hear "Yanny" - it's more like "Yi-a-hee". Weird, but close, right?