World of the Bizarre
Audio illusion has been baffling the Internet
By T.K. Randall
May 17, 2018 · 87 comments
Do you hear 'laurel' or 'yanny' ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Marcus Quigmire
A simple audio clip of a word being spoken has divided listeners who can't agree on what the word actually is.
Have a listen to the audio clip below - do you hear the word 'laurel' or the word 'yanny' ?
Remarkably, some of those who have heard it swear that they can hear 'laurel' but not 'yanny', while others claim the complete opposite - insisting that the word is definitely 'yanny'.
The clip is a recording from a vocabulary website that was discovered by 18-year-old Roland Szabo.
When he played it back for his school classmates, none of them could agree on what the word was.
After he posted it online, the conundrum soon become something of an Internet phenomenon.
According to Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Labs in San Francisco, each person's interpretation of the clip will depend on their immediate environment and what hardware they are using.
"When there is more energy towards the mid and higher frequencies, people tend to hear 'Yanny'," she said. "When the low frequencies are more emphasized, people will hear 'Laurel'."
Other factors, such as gender and age, can also affect how the clip is perceived.
"There really isn't a true reality, there is only our perceptual reality," she said.
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