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What Does Cold Sound Like?

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Can you hear the difference between hot and cold?

A British marketing firm called Condiment Junkie wanted to know the answer. They specialize in sound design for all sorts of advertisements, like this one for Twinings Tea.

The marketers wanted to know: Can people hear the difference between a hot cup of tea being poured and, say, a cold beer? And is it possible to make a hot drink sound hotter or a cold drink sound more refreshing?

So they did an experiment. They played sounds of hot and cold water being poured into glasses and asked people to guess: hot or cold? The results were kind of insane. Ninety-six percent of people can tell the difference between hot and cold, just by the sound.

So, can you hear the difference?

Glass 1

Glass 2

Check back for the answers Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, and tune into All Things Considered on Sunday evening for an explanation of how it works.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit


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