Before we even say anything, we want to know: do you hear Yanny or Laurel in the following video clip?
The Great Yanny Or Laurel Debate
Well, what do you hear? Among five of our team members, two of us heard “laurel”, while the rest heard “yanny”. In fact, when this clip first surfaced, it divided all who heard it, because they either heard one or the other, but there were also some who could hear both. I mean, what sorcery is this? As if the dress — you know which we’re referring to — wasn’t enough to mess with our brains! We also realise that this was “prime news” back in 2018, but we recently just discovered it, so we’re bringing it up again. If you’ve encountered this before, now would be a good time to see if you still hear the same thing!
What Exactly Is The “Yanny Or Laurel” Recording?
The audio was actually a re-recording from the Vocabulary.com entry for the word “laurel” with added background sounds. In other words, the re-recording turned what clearly was “laurel” into an ambiguous sound clip. So technically, all you people who hear “laurel” are hearing it accurately. But that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you if you hear “yanny”. Analysis of sound frequencies confirm that both “yanny” and “laurel” are present in the recording, but here’s why different people hear different things.
Frequency & Method Of Hearing
Most sounds, including “Y” and “L”, are made up of several frequencies at once, and both “yanny” and “laurel” have similar timing and energy content. That contributes to the ambiguity of the sound. However, experts speculate that the “Y” frequencies have been made artificially higher, and the “L” frequencies lowered instead. We all have different sensitivities to different frequencies, so your brain could interpret the same sounds in different ways. The type of speaker through which we listen to this recording also plays a part, as some may emphasise higher or lower frequencies, causing us to hear one word of the other.
Age & Expectation
Your age can also play a part in determining if you hear “yanny” or “laurel”. One’s hearing range deteriorates with age, which means that high frequencies can be hard or impossible to hear, so those who are older generally tend to hear “laurel” instead of “yanny”. This “ageing” process can start from the age of 25. For the record, our team members are divided into two age ranges: below 30 and above 30. Those above 30 did indeed hear “laurel”! What you’re expecting to hear or your past experiences with either word could also play a part in skewing your hearing either way. Perhaps you’ve just been talking about the word “laurel” (or some similar word), or you have friends named Yanny/Yanni. That potentially affects what you hear as well!
As this is an ambiguous stimulus, some people’s minds can flip back and forth between the two, and hear different words on different occasions. Of course, if you have lots of free time and know your way around audio settings, you can alter the clip’s audio to make yourself hear the other word instead! So, what do you hear? Yanny or laurel? Let us know!