You may remember the big disagreement that emerged in 2015 over ‘the dress’, a photo of a dress that some people saw as blue and black and others saw as gold and white, and each side could not possibly conceive how anyone could see anything else. (I was in the blue-black camp) Now there is a sound equivalent, where people listening to a sound clip hear the word spoken as either ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’. Test yourself.
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I
— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
Cody Cottier explains what may be going on with the sound version.
Though I definitely believed the dress was not white and gold, this time around I can sympathize with both sides. At first I was ready to take on anyone with the audacity to suggest the clip said “Laurel.” But after listening closer, I found I could toggle between hearing the two words.
It was like I had an angel on one shoulder whispering “Yanny,” and a devil on the other murmuring “Laurel.” I thought I was going insane. But some Twitter theories validate my poor, deceived ears.
It seems both words are present at different frequencies. The robotic voice saying “Yanny” is high-pitched, the one saying Laurel much lower. If you play the clip on a computer at a low frequency, you can isolate the word “Laurel,” and vice versa. This means the word you hear may depend on the device playing the sound.
For the record, I hear it as ‘Yanny’. I cannot hear ‘Laurel’ at all.