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18 May 2018

Question that is driving the internet crazy: Yanny or Laurel?

Three years ago, the netizens got bombed over the color of a dress.

Now, an audio file has melted down the Internet with everyone questioning each other's hearing and their own.

This audio file has set a raging debate about what is being said- Yanny or Laurel?

So, what do you hear? Is the person saying Yanny or Laurel?

In context

What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel?


So what it actually is?

For starters, those who hear 'Yanny', let me tell you that it is not even an actual word and what you hear is something like an auditory illusion.

The recording is congested/polluted because there are lots of different frequencies captured making you hear different sounds.

In layman terms, what you hear actually depends on the frequencies your brain emphasizes.

Scientific Explanation: It is all about the frequencies

The higher frequency sounds in the recording make some people hear "Yanny," whereas the lower frequencies make others hear "Laurel". What you hear depends on multiple factors like what sounds your brain is paying attention to, your past experiences, and even what you're expecting to hear.

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How it went viral

The meme was traced back to Reddit where a user named RolandCamry posted this on a page named 'Black Magic Fuckery' and believed the distortion to be a black magic phenomenon.

However, the now-viral audio recording actually originated on the resource website Vocabulary.com.

There, 'Laurel' was defined as a "wreath worn on the head, usually as a symbol of victory."

Where all this 'actually' started


Where all this 'actually' started

But the catch here is that this debate actually didn't start on Reddit.

On May 11, Katie Hetzel, a first-year student at Flowery Branch High School in Georgia, was studying for her world literature class, when "laurel" came up as one of the words. She looked the term on Vocabulary.com and played the audio. Instead of the word she expected, she heard "yanny."

The internet hasn't calmed down ever since!

What's this?

Different sounds for different speakers and different ages

Now, the debate is not just what you hear but also that you hear different sounds on different devices.

Experts claim headphones and speakers are bound to behave differently, because it depends on how they process the frequencies.

Also, what you hear also depends on your age, older adults listening to it in higher frequency are likely to year 'Laurel', while younger lot hear it as 'Yanny.'

This expert has answered it for us

Jody Kreiman, a principal investigator at the voice perception laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, explained that "the acoustic patterns for the utterance are midway between those for the two words. The energy concentrations for Ya are similar to those for La. N is similar to r; I is close to l."

Dear reader, weigh in and tell us what you hear

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