Yanny vs Laurel - can you always trust your perception?

Gustave Flaubert, the influential French novelist, argued there is no truth, there is only perception. For example, take the viral Yanny versus Laurel debate.

YannyLaurelLetterbox

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the audio equivalent of the blue/gold dress controversy, watch this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_R9_xdhuNw and prepare to be astounded.

These are extreme examples but the tension between perception and fact is very present in assessing risks in the Health & Safety arena. Often the challenge for a H&S manager is to take subjectivity out of the equation by giving people clear, consistent ways of managing risk. Checklist based assessments are a good way of doing this. In addition to speeding up an assessment, a checklist promotes the recording of fact over opinion and minimises the problem of deciphering unclear handwriting. In the case of an accident you need a clear, auditable record of what actually happened because people’s perception of an event can be surprisingly inaccurate, especially if they are under stress.

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