Did Grover drop the F-bomb?

The science of suggestion

A clip from Sesame Street is circulating on-line and there’s a debate about what Grover mentioned. Have a hear, does he say “that’s a f**king excellent idea”?

But may it’s, “that sounds like an excellent idea!”? Have a hear once more with that suggestion in your thoughts. For me, what you hear depends upon what you’re primed to listen to.

This is enjoying on the identical perceptual phantasm that leads some individuals to listen to satanic lyrics when enjoying Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” backwards. Here is an indication of the satanic lyrics.

But correct scientific experiments present that if you happen to take heed to “Stairway to Heaven” backward together with your eyes closed, what you really hear is gibberish [1]. Try listening to the video once more however with out the lyrics. Even although you would possibly bear in mind the odd phrase you’re meant to select, it’s principally gibberish. The satanic lyrics are heard provided that the printed lyrics are there as a immediate.

What is happening? When we converse typically the phrases come out barely garbled. Also if you happen to’re chatting in a loud surroundings a few of the speech will get hidden by noise about you. Consequently, it is a vital talent for a listener to have the ability to appropriate errors in speech. The mind could be very adept at discovering patterns and becoming collectively different sources of data. But typically the mind will get it flawed, on this case matching the written satanic lyrics to the in any other case incomprehensible backward murmurings.

The identical factor is occurring with Grover. What he mentioned was ambiguous, and consequently by prompting that it is likely to be the f-word, then that’s what the listener thinks they hear. As Professor David Alais from the University of Sydney mentioned to The Guardian over the related Yanny/Laurel debate:

“All of this goes to highlight just how much the brain is an active interpreter of sensory input, and thus that the external world is less objective than we like to believe.”


Do you recognize of another audio examples? Is it true that Fanny Cradock as soon as dropped the F-bomb?

Further studying

  1. S. B. Thorne and P. Himelstein, “The Role of Suggestion in the Perception of Satanic Messages in Rock-and-Roll Recordings,” Journal of Psychology 116 (1984): 245–48.
  2. I. M. Begg, D. R. Needham, and M. Bookbinder, “Do Backward Messages Unconsciously Affect Listeners? No,” Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 47 (1993): 1–14.

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