Subtitled: Yanny and Laurel Redux
Did you get caught up in the Yanny or Laurel frenzy? It seemed to be the top feature story across the nation. Yes, that link will let you listen in on what half the world heard last week.
Yes, I listened too. The first time the word was OBVIOUSLY Yanny. But in preparing for this post, I listened again and it was now OBVIOUSLY Laurel. Wow.
Through it all though, what kept nagging at me was the question, why are we so SURE, so CERTAIN that we hear what we hear, when someone else hears something else? It happens with vision too.
Take a look at the classic image below. What do you see? (Perhaps you’ve seen this one before?)
(I’ll fill you in below on what it is.)
This NPR story gives insight on how we perceive auditory differences and why — we fill in the gaps as needed to help us make sense.
Which is exactly what visual images (ones I’m more familiar with) have us do — we fill in the gaps to help us make sense.
You know these shapes. In a jiffy, no questions asked. A circle and a square. Easy peasy.
But what about this one?
Did the old lady pop out at you or the young one? No analysis needed, you know. It doesn’t matter WHICH one you saw, just that you saw one. Ask someone else; they’ll probably see the other.
Actually, this image is a terrible example of the point I’m trying to make. Oh well. Moving on. That one was just for fun.
We want to make sense of the world around us.
Of course we do. Who wouldn’t.
We want to know the Why, the What, the How, and all the rest.
And if that information is not forthcoming, we come up with something that, to us at least, makes sense. We find something that keeps us believing life is predictable, sensible, … safe. We fill in the gaps. Even the unconscious gaps, the ones we are unaware of.
Often, we fill those gaps with what we’re hoping for or expecting. Keeps life simpler, yes?
I thank the Yanny and Laurel phenomenon for reminding me that we often see (and hear) things differently. There’s not necessarily a right or a wrong, nor a good or an evil, just a different perspective, a different way of seeing (and hearing). And that — to me — helps keep the world a bit more interesting. And fun.
What is in the first image?
Some people see a black vase, others see two white profiles staring at one another.
What did you see?
How about you? How much fun did you have with Yanni — or was it Laurel?
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