Science behind the Laurel vs. Yanny debate


Some people who listen to this audio file hear one thing; others hear something completely different.

The internet will always birth new viral content, but most (remember Pen-Apple-Pineapple Pen?) are just media flotsam to enjoy and forget about. "We have the suggestion of the two choices, Yanny or Laurel, and depending on our perception we respond accordingly".

Some of it has to do with what you expect to hear, too. If you can hear high freqs, you probably hear "yanny", but you *might* hear "laurel".

The post was originally posted to Reddit, but can now be seen all over social media.

Watch as Ghastly and Boombox Cartel chime in with their thoughts on the Yanny or Laurel fiasco.

It's the biggest online debate since the blue and black versus gold and yellow dress debacle of 2015. Why would people hear two totally different words?

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"Part of it involves the recording", said Brad Story, Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing at The University of Arizona. "And that in itself allows there to be some ambiguity already".

Wired managed to connect with the CTO of, Marc Tinkler, who explained to them that the voice was one of 2,00,000 words initially recorded by opera singers because they are one of the few people who know how to read words written in the worldwide phonetic alphabet (IPA). But when he tried the clip again back at his desk, he heard "laurel". However, he says, if someone can here yanny, it's due to similar characteristics within the frequency.

OK, so what does that all mean?

Emmy Rossum was one of the freaky few who could hear both: I hear #yanny so clearly. but if I listen closely I can hear a deep quiet ghost saying there. anyone else hear both?' But for a moment, discovering there was no observable rhyme or reason to why you heard something that a sizeable chunk of the internet didn't was unsettling.

"Most likely the original recording was 'Laurel, '" he said.