I was at a football game recently sitting towards the top like this. And I found myself clapping and I thought ‘Wait, does this even matter? Like can they even hear a clap from way dow there on the field?’ if our goal as fans much noise as possible, what is the scientifically proven the best way to do that? Do you stomp or yell, and should you yell be high-pitched or low pitch? Does cupping your hands make a difference? What about one of these? Or this? Or one of these? And should the cheering at the change depending on where your seats are? I had some guesses, so as a firm believer in the scientific method, I decided to test my hypothesis. So I’ve got a control group of three fans- AHAHAH. It’s some real nice audio equipment, so they are going to sit in a bunch of different seats all over the stadium and cheer in all the different possible ways and then we’re gonna analyze which cheers are the loudest from down here on the field. But first I needed a baseline to compare our cheering too. And since I attended grad school at USC, they let me come back to the Coliseum to take some measurements. And while everyone else was enjoying the game, I was dutifully collecting audio data. Mostly. So now that I’ve got my baseline for the full stadium, I think it’s time to do our experiment in the empty stadium. You guys ready? YEEAAHHHH!!!! So our fans stood in 12 different locations throughout the stadium, and in each location they cycle through the same 11 cheers. And then me my buddy Marcelo, who happens to have a PhD in acoustics, stood at center field and recorded the data. Ok so we’re finished and we’re currently processing the data. But before we state the results, I think it’s important to review the science behind how hearing works. Your eardrums are fancy biological sensors that tell you if anything is pushing on them. It’s like if you blow on the back of your hand, you can feel the pressure from the blown air only your eardrums are millions of times more sensitive than that. So these guys represent individual air molecules. And when you hear that lovely bird chirping, what’s actually happening is the birds throat is moving and it pushes the air molecules right next to it. Which pushes the molecules next to it and causes a chain reaction called a longitudinal wave. And those crashes keep happening until they crash into the air molecules in your ear canal, which then crash into your eardrum, causing it to move just a little. And depending on the pattern of movement from the repeated crashes, your brain is like, “oh I recognize that as a bird chirp.” And if the molecules are crashing it at a high frequency we hear that as a high pitch, and if they’re crashing it is a low frequency, we hear that as a low pitch. And the greater distance your eardrum gets pushed in, our brain registers that as a loud sound. Okay, now for the results. For starters here is the baselines for the loudest sounds I recorded at the actual game. And then for comparison we took the recorded sound measurements from our three fans, and scaled them up. So this is how loud it would be if all 94 thousand people in the Coliseum were clapping at once. Not surprisingly clapping is in last place as far as loudness of all the cheers go. Next up in 8th place are these ThunderStick things. They look sort of obnoxious, but they’re not actually that loud. And now in seventh we have BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO booing. Which was a bit surprising to me it was so low in the rankings. And as you can see we are now louder than the max sounds I recorded at the game. And this makes sense, because you never actually have all 94 thousand people cheering at the same time. Which raises sort of an obvious observation which is that sound is cumulative. So you want to make sure everybody is pitching in. Next up we have a tie for fifth place between the cowbell and the boo-boos. And this was again a surprise to me because I remember the constant drone from all of the vuvuzelas from the 2010 world cup. But when we were standing at center field, we definitely agreed it wasn’t as loud as some of the other cheering. I think they’re just really easy for one person to make a long sustained noise with, and so when you have a couple thousand people with them you get this constant drone, but it’s not actually that loud of the human ear which brings up a good point we are measuring loudness here, and not the typical sound pressure or decibel. Decibels aren’t actually that great for measuring how a human ear perceives sound, because of the constant decibel level we actually perceive certain frequencies as louder than others. Loudness accounts for that. So it’s a better measurement of what you would actually here down here on the field. Additionally, the loudness scale is linear. So if you double the loudness, that would mean in real life it would seem twice as loud. And in third place, we have another tie between screaming at the top of your lungs without a cone or cupping in your hands, and screaming at the top of your lungs with cupping your hands or using a cone. And this seemed counter-intuitive at first, until we notice the effect of the cone was only slightly more pronounced when you were really close to the field. So the further from the field you are, the less of a difference it makes. Because as soon as your voice leaves the cone, the pressure wave propagates in all directions. So it’s diffused by the time it hits the field either way. It is encouraging though that from the perspective of the players on the field yelling at the top of your lungs is more effective than all this other stuff. Okay so to set the stage for the first and second loudest cheer, remember that in a sport like American football your goal as a fan is to make so much noise that the players eardrums are moving in and out so much that they can’t sense the smaller eardrum movements of the snap count. And so they fall start and get a penalty. This is why the Seahawks recently held the world record for the loudest stadium. And also have the most false start penalties by a comfortable margin. Which means the fans are directly affecting the outcome of the game. And so finally, sort of not surprisingly, in first place we have the air horn. But a very close second place, was one of these weird things. It’s sort of like a kazoo on steroids. It’s nearly as loud as an air horn, but it’s small and discreet. And it’s powered by your own lungs. Very few sporting leagues have explicit rules against noise makers, because they’re hard to enforce. And so I’m not advocating this, but I’ll simply point out that these things are really cheap, and a student section could pitch in and get a thousand of these things for about a hundred bucks online. *Evil Whistling* So that, cold art science fun on cheering. But it’s thorough man of science we knew there was one final scenario we needed a test, for all those watching the game at home. OH COME ON!!!!!!! YOU CAN’T RUN THE BALL ON THIRD ??? YOU GOTTA THROW IT! You hear anything Marcelo? *Shakes Head* Sorry. Wait, you spelled “subscribing” wrong. I want to quickly Audible for sponsoring this video. One of the most notable USC alumni was a guy named Louie Zamperini. He was sort of an accidental olympian who ended up serving in World War II. Where his plane went down in the ocean, most died in the crash. But he survived and they ended up living off raw fish and stray birds for over a month. With like sharks circling and jumping in their raft. Eventually, he’s captured by the Japanese and put in a concentration camp and it just gets worse from there. It’s an unbelievable true story, which makes it one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever listened to. So if you want to listen to unbroken or any other audio book for free, all you have to do is use the link in the description or go to If there’s someone in your life who doesn’t have a lot of time, but loves to learn and read, an Audible subscription makes for an awesome Christmas present. Thanks for watching! *Subtitles edited and corrected by Icy Cubey. Now, as a fan of his videos, go subscribe to him. Even though he spelled “subscribe” wrong. 😛

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