Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Yanny or Laurel? Who cares when the reactions are this hilarious

Yanny or Laurel? Who cares when the reactions are this hilarious

People hear different words because the audio file has more than the usual number of frequencies. I took it into the food room and half heard Laurel and half heard Yanny.

According to sound experts who spoke with the website The Verge, the acoustic information that makes us hear "Yanny" is higher frequency than the acoustic information that makes us hear "Laurel".

From the people KLTV polled today in Smith County, 30% said they heard "Yanny" and 70% heard "Laurel".

A unusual audio clip has taken over, making people question their hearing. So what do you hear?


"How it was recorded, how it was played back, if there was any frequency modulation in between the two, and also the speaker, said Cavanaugh".

Some speculated online that the age of the listener might determine what was heard, while others changed the pitch to alter results.

The audio clip was picked up by Reddit on May 12 - specifically, on a post by RolandCamry at the suitably titled subreddit r/blackmagicf**kery. She said she heard laurel.

"I literally just turned all frequencies below 1khz to negative 70 decibels and I still hear 'laurel, '" someone said on Reddit. "Is the person more of a high-pitched voice or a low-pitched voice?"


Speech scientists say there's a simple reason for the audio trickery that has to do with the way our brains learn to quickly decipher vowels and words.

"Laurel, and then I can hear Yanny as well", Tricia Grishaw, who works at Sal's said.

Elliot Freeman, a perception researcher at City University of London, said our brains can selectively tune into different frequency bands once we know what to listen out for, "like a radio". Couple this with all the cultural and linguistic ways we've been trained to hear certain vowels, and you've got a flawless recipe for a little audio illusion.


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