# eli5 how can headphones get so tangled?

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I can’t understand how It takes them 1day to get tangled into a bleeping exp lvl sudoķu that you need 40min for? Like I an sure I didn’t tangle that cable that way…

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Probability! There’s way way way more ways for your headphone wires to be tangled than untangled. So as they move around in your pocket, backpack, whatever they fold up around themselves into one of the many exciting possibilities we call ‘tangled’. You have to detangle them to get them in the few states we call ‘untangled’.

The tangled headphone phenomenon is actually quite interesting because it tells us a bit more about how we view the world vs. how it actually is. We view it as two states ‘tangled’ and ‘untangled’. In reality there are thousands of ways your headphones can be folded in such a way we would describe them as tangled. There are only a relative few ways they can be ‘untangled’

Theres actually a study on this [here](https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.0611320104)

The length of a string paired with rate of agitation.. so shaking etc can create quite complex knots due to sheer probability

The longer a string gets the more likely it is.

Headphones are technically even worse because it is 2 seperate cables so the left and right cable can be tangled even faster..theres just a lot more chances a knot forms