Understanding Subjectivism: How the Mind Changes Our Experience of Hearing



Audioholic Slumlord
... Hearing a difference is way easier than picking a preference but living with a speaker for a month or so better demonstrates just how much you enjoy listening to it and how often you go back for more...
Yes, but. Living with it and being further biased by sight will not make it easier to try another.


Audioholic Slumlord
The placebo effect can be pretty huge.. maybe even more than the best upgrade could ever objectively improve something.

Placebo *surgeries* can even be nearly as effective as actual surgery in some cases, which is ridiculous (you get cut open, the doctor does nothing and then stitches you back up!). Citation : https://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g3253 . It was only done with elective surgeries, so no one's life was put on the line.

Don't even have to be cut open all the way. Just a cut to stitch is enough I bet.


Audioholic Field Marshall
Tangentially related to this subject is this article just published on Fast Company: Humans are Hard-Wired to Dismiss Facts that Don't Fit Their Worldview. This is so relevant to the audio industry.
Oh boy, I bet you get some backlash for sure for suggesting anyone's political facts are other than the true gospel.
I read your article and enjoyed the conclusions because they fit my world view. Of course, the author and his theory predict that I will accept his research because it aligns with my own and doesn't contradict anything. For some, that would make me a fan-boy sheeple.

As it applies to audio, which I believe was your point for including it, it explains a lot of the gut reactions that golden ears have when their cherished claims get rebutted with simple audio physics. Some get really chippy and resort to insults right away when "facts" get in the way of their claims and innovative thinking.

It was reassuring to read that somebody has figured out some of the basics of why this happens. I have held the opinion for a long time that our basic need to belong to a "tribe" is one of our great strengths and tragic shortcomings. Its either "us" or "them". And we all know we can't trust "them".

Good article and even though no audio critics were mentioned, I definitely can see the application for sound.


Audioholic Field Marshall
At least until a better one comes along with better evidence. ;)
And isn't that the very definition of how the scientific principal works? Someone does some research, puts forth some data, draws conclusions and states a theory. Then somebody else comes along later and tries the same things but perhaps with improved methods. That person then gets a better view of the data, conclusions and perhaps modifies the theory a bit. The conclusions and theory are improved. Or, if the old research has significant flaws it gets rebutted and we have a brewhaha for a while.

I would agree wholeheartedly, until a better one comes along with better evidence :)


Speaker of the House
This image was sent to me relating to this article:

sooo sooo true.


Audioholic Slumlord
Living with it and being further biased by sight will not make it easier to try another.
Living with a speaker that is less than results in listening to music less and less so trying another speaker is nearly compulsory for me because music is valued to a somewhat ridiculous degree. We're not talking about a person who is happy with the audio quality of a smart phone.

My argument is that bias is eroded by a decreased appreciation of music over an extended period of time.

That's how it works for me anyway. YMMV but I can't imagine how.


Audioholic Overlord
Something objectivists have often misunderstood or underestimated about subjectivism is just how deeply the mind changes the experience of hearing due to the effects of biases, preconceptions, and attitudes that all add up to expectations. Objectivists are just as susceptible to these tricks of the mind, much as they would not like to admit it. But what is the mind doing to our experience of sound, and how can we break this delusion- or can we break this delusion?
View attachment 33362
READ: How the Mind Changes Our Experience of Hearing


Excellent article!!

When people say they hear a difference in cables, they really do. Not because there actually IS a difference, but because their mind creates one. I dont see anything wrong with people experiencing this if it helps them enjoy the hobby more. Let the free market dictate what products are available. If enough people want to buy a piece of gear regardless of it measuring badly to keep a company profitable, so be it. I dont see the harm in leaving choices for people even if they arent ones we would choose.

I think the idea that the entire industry will go to crap and be overran by bad measuring gear and moon crystals is kind of silly. There will always be those that seek out great measurements and those that dont care as much.

If a product measures badly but people like how it sounds, what right does anyone have to demand that product be "fixed" or taken off the market?

Dont mis-understand me, I think your work here and the rest of the work of Audioholics on this matter is great. I just fail to understand the reason for some people to take it and beat people over the head with it.

Not saying you're doing that, just saying it happens a lot all over the place.

  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis