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Image: twitter/CloeCouture

Yanny or Laurel? The new internet conundrum

Alexander Pearson
May 16, 2018

A simple audio recording of a robotic voice saying a single word has sparked online wars. It has divided people between those who hear one word and those who hear another.


"Yanny" or "Laurel"?

That question has stirred confusion, disbelief and fear on social media since a Reddit user posted an audio recording of a computerized voice repeating a single word on May 13.

Some people say they hear the word "yanny," others say they hear "laurel," while others have said they can hear both or — more disturbingly — switched from hearing one to the other.

Read more: Discussion on the color of #Thedress breaks the Internet

'Dude how!?!?'

What some Twitter users have written:

  • "What... you guys are joking, right? I hear Laurel as clear as day."
  • "Dude how!?!? It's clearly YANNY"
  • "How would someone even hear Laurel"
  • "You can hear both, Yanny is higher pitched and underneath it but slightly delayed you hear a deep robotic voice say Laurel"
  • "First I heard YANNY and then LAUREL! I don't know what's going on"

Read more: 5 artists that make you look twice

Some prominent people also chimed in, with British comedian James Corden writing on Twitter, "I'm a Laurel. You will not silence us," and US comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres writing, "Literally everything at my show just stopped to see if people hear Laurel or Yanny. I hear Laurel."

Some users said the discrepancy was caused by how different people hear different frequencies.

One user posted edited versions of the recording to show how it changed depending on the pitch.

Reminiscent of '#Thedress'

The outcry echoes the shrill debate surrounding "#Thedress" that erupted in early 2015. Millions of people argued over whether a photograph of a dress showed a black and blue or a white and gold one.

The optical illusion was never solved. Although it's not clear why not. The dress was clearly black and blue.

And by the way, it's "Laurel."

Read more: Optical illusions on Instagram

Optical illusions on Instagram

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