Who can reconcile this auditory illusion with primacy of the senses? (brainstorm or green needle)

Posted by BrettRocketSci 5 years, 11 months ago to Philosophy
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This sound recording has me stumped. Decide whether you want to hear "brainstorm" or "green needle" and you hear either one. This is a real mystery to me. The words aren't anything close to each other. Quite a challenge to my premises. Who's up for the challenge to explain it?? I'm looking forward to reactions and explanations. Thanks, Brett


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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 5 years, 11 months ago
    Human perception is unreliable. The notion that seeing alone is believing is a mistake. Our eyes have a blind spot that our brain fills in. We're not aware of how our visual acuity is highest in the center and then decreases for peripheral vision. The McGurk Effect shows how vision affects hearing.

    I think blindly trusting senses explains belief in people seeing aliens and ghosts.

    We have to use reason to understand the limitations of our senses and our perceptions, i.e. what we get from our senses after the brain does processing in it.

    The same is true for human memory. It may feel like a tape recording of events, but it's not. How clearly we remember is not a good indicator of how reliable memories are.

    All of this does not mean we throw up our hands and fall into solipsism. We have to be aware of the limitations of perception and work around them.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
      Thanks. How I explain this experiment (at this point) is - reality is objective, but our identity is such that we have certain limitations and biases that can influence our perception & recollection of reality. It isn't perfect or infallible. I think this recording is a demonstration of self-hypnosis. It's very fascinating and humbling.
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      • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 5 years, 10 months ago
        Our understanding of Truth and Reality evolves over time toward greater and greater accuracy.

        Just observe all of the different memes of each time period in history; from old testament times up to the era of our forefathers...that was the 5000 year leap described in a book by that title.

        Since though, we have devolved back toward those times past during the progressive and post modern era up to the present time.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 5 years, 11 months ago
    Wonder if there is a difference based on what audio components are being used to reproduce the sound. There is a BIG difference in how vocal music is perceived by changing components. Computer speakers and inexpensive headphones cover up lots of sounds in favor of the taste of the designers (or the sale market they are pursuing.) What you hear may not be anything like the original recording.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
      I've repeated this on 3 different computers and I can hear either option on all of them. I don't think you understand the point of the exercise.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 5 years, 10 months ago
        I know that my receiving technology (ears/brain) has frequencies that it hears better than others, and that hardware that produces sounds accentuates some frequencies more than others.
        I understand that when a recording has 3 syllables recorded, hearing only two is very strange and it may be happening because of the equipment being used. That may be the hardware reproducing and transmitting, the medium of transmission, or the wetware receiving.
        What is the point of the exercise? Enlighten me. I decided what I wanted to hear and regardless of what I decided, I heard 3 syllables (gree-nee-dull or something similar) every time. I could just as well have decided it was "john-galt" but that would not be what I heard because that wasn't recorded, transmitted, received, or perceived.
        May be there should have been no hints as to what was expected and you would have had a more objective reply.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 5 years, 10 months ago
    I put my earphones in, but was unable to make the
    thing work (though usually I can make the earphones work). But it does not matter. The only way we have of perceiving the world (or other planets, etc.) is by the physical senses. It is the job of the brain to process the information received from them. Apparent contradictions can be resolved and explained. A young child, or untutored adult, can reasonably conclude that the earth is flat, and should not be blamed for insisting that it is so, until it is explained to him what accounts for the appearance that it is flat, and that the sun crosses the sky once a day. The fact that one comes upon a new, strange thing, and an apparent contradiction is not an excuse to turn into a quivering lump of jelly, and become subservient to the Inquisition, Immanuel Kant, or anyone else.
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  • Posted by mgarbizo1 5 years, 10 months ago
    This is becoming a bit of a trend now (laurel yanny anyone?). A fun little exercise with word priming done right before you listen to the strange sounds and you are easily led to hear whatever you last thought of as the word you would hear. If I said out loud Brain Storm, you're not going to confuse it with Green Needle or even Green Storm. Its the device in this case
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 5 years, 10 months ago
    Could it be a left brain/right brain thing. Like the drawings that can be seen two ways? I am very left brain. I heard green needle the very first time. Then brainstorm every time thereafter. Guess you can't trust what you see or hear.
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  • Posted by $ allosaur 5 years, 10 months ago
    The first time me dino listened to that whatever that is, me had paid no attention to "(brainstorm or green needle)" and just heard a repetitive noise.
    The second time I had given consideration to the two words and distinctly heard "green needle."
    The "brainstorm" option does not have enough syllables to match the sounds.
    So was I programmed to hear "green needle?"
    I dunno.
    Dunno if that thing signals for the mothership to come either.
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