On the internet, it’s always something — the meme everyone is sharing or the news story everyone is reacting to.
This week in our house the debate ran hot and furious with my husband distinctly hearing “Laurel” and my son and I hearing “Yanny.”
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can check it out here:
We listened to the audio clip over and over again, trying all sorts of things to hear the name we weren’t hearing, but with no luck. The kid and I still heard “Yanny,” and my husband continued to hold out for Laurel.
I’m pretty sure each side thought the other was being deliberately obtuse.
But we weren’t.
Back to the web for answers–in the form of the following video.
We watched a couple times, listening as the people on the clip manipulated the original audio clip.
Both names were there the whole time, but I couldn’t hear anything other than “Yanny, Yanny, Yanny” and my husband only heard “Laurel, Laurel, Laurel.”
The whole exercise got me wondering: how often does this same sort of thing happen in real life? in real time?
How often can you say one thing but the person you’re talking to really and truly hears something completely different? And it leads to real misunderstandings?
How many times had my husband and I gotten angry at one another or argued because he said “bring home tea” (a.k.a. “Laurel”) but I heard “let’s have peas” (Yanny”)?
What if there were real reasons?
When our son was young, we knew something was up because he would color beautiful pictures of trees…but the trees were often brown. Or he’d draw a summer scene, but instead of happy green grass, his yard was a strange, sickly shade of orange.
When we took him for his first real eye exam, we weren’t surprised when the optometrist did the test for color vision perception and our son turned up color vision deficient. He simply wasn’t able to differentiate all the different colors.
(On the positive side–any potential career he may have had as someone who defuses bombs is off the table.)
Knowing my son is color vision deficient changes the way I react when I ask him to hand me a green cup and he hands me the red one instead.
Realizing two people can listen to the exact same thing and hear something totally different, means we need to start our conversations with just a little more empathy and understanding.
What if we began all our misunderstandings with the assumption that there was a reason, not just someone else out there trying to yank of our chain?