Hearing “White Christmas” in white noise [research study]

Another White Christmas: Fantasy Proneness and Reports of ‘Hallucinatory Experiences’ in Undergraduate Students,” Harald Merckelbach and Vincent van de Ven, Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, vol. 32, no. 3, September 2001, pp. 137-144. (Thanks to Kristine Danowski for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Maastricht University, The Netherlands, report:

“44 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.”

Read that and more, in the column “Music and Noise Research—Explorations of artistic and other vibrations” [free, downloadable PDF], in the special NOISE issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.

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