Green Needle Or Brainstorm? Audio Clip On TikTok Sparks Internet Debate

WCBS 880 Newsroom
July 31, 2020 - 1:23 pm
Tik Tok

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — We’ve debated “the dress,” we’ve debated “Yanny or Laurel” and now it’s time to decide once again: Brainstorm or Green Needle?

An audio clip, originally from a 2018 tweet, resurfaced on TikTok in recent weeks and has taken the social media app by storm.

The video features a young woman pointing to the words “Green Needle” and “Brainstorm.” It then asks users to identify which word(s) they hear.

Though, the trick seems to be that users can hear both, depending on which word(s) they are reading when the audio plays. 

According to the Telegraph, the audio is actually from a toy review video on YouTube from 2012 in which a user was reviewing a toy from the popular children’s show “Ben 10 Alien Force.”

The character is named Brainstorm and says its name when prompted with the press of a button – but not everyone who watched the review video heard it correctly. 

Similarly to the Yanny or Laurel debate, doctors say the speech perception is about acoustic patterns. 

Suzy J. Styles, a psycholinguist who specializes in brain, language and intersensory perception at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore told the Telegraph in 2018, “if you are thinking Green Needle, it makes the acoustic cues that match those sounds stronger, so that's what you hear. If you are thinking Brainstorm, then those cues are stronger, so you hear that instead.”

She notes that, just like when some people saw white and gold on the dress while others saw blue and black, the Brainstorm/Green Needle debate is “a great reminder that everything we think we experience via the senses is just our brain's best guess at reality.”

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