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Is this a refutation of the piranha principle?

Jonathan Falk points to this example of a really tiny stimulus having a giant effect (in brain space) and asks if it’s a piranha violation. I don’t think it is, but the question is amusing.


  1. At first I played this without sound and thought: This is really the world’s worst poem.

  2. Michael Nelson says:

    I agree it’s not a violation. My reasoning is that the piranha principle is about simultaneous exposure to stimuli with simultaneous effects and no interaction, but the video doesn’t achieve this. It does present all the phrases simultaneously, but we don’t perceive them simultaneously, nor do we experience their different effects simultaneously. That’s why the video’s cool: you stop hearing one phrase and start hearing another when you stop reading one phrase and start reading another. It’s freaky because you are aware of the multiple effects, and that freakiness you experience is an interaction effect.

    • 匿名 says:

      Yeah, I agree. As you say, the stimuli are dependent—you can only look at one phrase at a time. There’s no paradox in having large numbers of correlated causes of a particular effect. It’s only if you expect them to be reasonably independent that you should start to see issues.

  3. Dzhaughn says:

    Hmm. Well, they ain’t no Pavarotti.

    Let the Italians handle that on Sunday, the English can stick to “Sweet Caroline” on Sunday.

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