Yanny or Laurel? Even Scientists Are Stumped


One of the most infamous Internet debates was whether the dress was blue and black or white and gold. The new “Yanny or Laurel” debate seems to be almost as mind-bending and infuriating as the dress.

It all started when a Reddit user shared a robot pronouncing a word. Some heard Yanny, others heard Laurel.

Community members have tried to explain how exactly this phenomenon happens. Some people claim that if you adjust the bass levels in a sound editor, you can hear both Yanny or Laurel.

Another video revealed that fiddling with the pitch levels might allow Yanny hearers to also hear Laurel.

According to Brad Story, a professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences at the University of Arizona, if you pass the Yanny / Laurel audio clip through a waveform detector, the answer is most likely Laurel.


Over at Gizmodo, both a sound and audio engineer and a psychologist from the University of Chicago avoided taking any clear sides, saying that it depends on who’s listening.

“The signal information is present for both words in the acoustics, but some people are listening to some frequencies and others are listening to other frequencies,” said psychologist Howard Nusbaum.

So far, the only “authority” to be definitely in Yanny’s camp is, of course, the musician Yanni.

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