August 31, 2018

White noise evokes White Christmas if you think about it

Filed under: Music,Science by Orangemaster @ 2:12 pm

Harald Merckelbach and Vincent van de Ven of Maastricht University published a study back in 2001 entitled ‘Another White Christmas: fantasy proneness and reports of ‘hallucinatory experiences’ in undergraduate students’ in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, which, for whatever reason, has been brought to Improbable Research’s attention this week.

Forty-four undergraduate students were asked to listen to white noise and instructed to press a button when they believed hearing a recording of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas without this record actually being presented. Fourteen participants (32%) pressed the button at least once…. hallucinatory reports obtained during the White Christmas test [might] reflect a non-specific preference for odd items rather than schizophrenia-like, internal experiences.

In my neck of the woods, we used to sing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, and all the cars stuck in the snow.” And in case you’ve never heard this great Christmas classic, here it is.


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