An auditory illusion driving social media insane has a surprisingly simple solution — but that certainly doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
The clip, which is currently blowing up on TikTok, asks viewers to listen to the same sound bite twice, once while looking at a caption reading “green needle” and once while looking at one reading “brainstorm.”
I can personally confirm that whichever phrase you are reading is the one you also hear. Don’t believe me?
“Nope don’t like that!” wrote one listener.
“I think I’m broken .. I keep hearing Brain Needle,” said another.
Now, the green needle vs. brainstorm debate is certainly not new to this year.
It first went viral in May 2018 when Twitter user George Aylett shared a clip of a toy that, when activated, seemed to say either of the phrases depending on what the listener was thinking about at the time.
Even before that, the clip was originally recorded by YouTuber DosmRider as part of his “Ben 10 Alien Force Ultimate Omnitrix” toy review. And, for the record, the word the toy is genuinely saying is “Brainstorm,” the name of one of the characters on the show.
So, why is it that our minds can morph brainstorm into green needle in an instant?
HuffPost previously reported that the phenomenon could be an example of a psychological effect known as “priming,” a phenomenon in which exposure to one stimulus influences how a person responds to a subsequent, related stimulus.
Professor Valerie Hazan, a hearing and phonetic sciences expert at University College London, told the outlet that the reason our minds can make the quick switch is that merely thinking about the second phrase — in this case, “green needle” — while listening to the audio file can cause our ears and brain to “latch on to” the second perceived acoustic pattern.
It all brings us right back to the great laurel vs. yanny debate of 2018.
If you liked this article, check out this auditory illusion that may make your head explode.
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