Yanny or Laurel? (Or why parents already know that two people can hear two different things)

Did you hear Yanny or Laurel?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind right now (ok, maybe there are other things on your mind but this might be one of them). If you don’t know what I’m talking about go here and listen, then come back and tell me what you heard. Go on, I’ll wait.

What did you hear? Actually, it doesn’t matter what you heard because there are people in both camps – much like that blue/black or white/gold dress from last year. The whole thing is weird though, right? How can we see or hear something completely different from someone else? Does that mean that we always hear or see different things from each other?? Is the color that I call “blue” the same color that you call blue??

Now, if you think that was strange, there’s another auditory illusion sweeping the internet called Brainstorm/Green Needle. What’s really odd about this one though isn’t that you and I might hear something different while listening to the clip together, it’s that you and I will will hear different things just by thinking different things. As you listen to the clip, think either Brainstorm or Green Needle and see what you hear. For kicks, try hearing Brain Needle or Green Storm. Try it here and come back.

I know! It’s so disturbing!

Now, I can wrap my brain around the scientific basis for why we each may hear something different when we are listening to the Yanny/Laurel clip (something about frequencies and how information is recorded by the ear and interpreted by the brain), but this other clip had me stumped. How is it possible that just thinking something can make you hear something different?

Well, a friend she set me straight. She explained that we parents have been dealing with this phenomenon since our kids were old enough to understand what we were asking of them.

This is different than selective hearing, it’s “wishful-hearing.” My kids haven’t been tuning me out, they were just creating a different reality. For instance, when my kids were little I would say, “Please don’t throw food at your brother,” but clearly my boys were thinking, “Please throw food at your brother,” so that’s what they heard me say. Similarly, when I now say, “please walk the dog,” my son is probably thinking, “Mom will walk the dog,” so that’s what he hears.

Try this one, too. Go tell your kid to do something and then ask what he or she heard you say. I bet it has nothing to do with what you said.

The great thing about this theory is that you can’t take it personally. It’s not about your kid being disrespectful or ignoring you, it’s about a different reality. Thankfully, it works both ways. Go get one of your kids and tell them to ask you for something, like money. As your daughter says the words, “Can I have $20?” I want you to think that she’s saying, “I am going to look for a better job so next time I need $20 I can take it out of my own bank account instead of asking you?”

See, wishful-hearing. It works for everyone.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Kim on May 19, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Spot on 😉



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