Like a dress that’s either gold and white or blue and black, the two seemingly unrelated words “Yanny” and “Laurel” are threatening to split the internet in half.
On Tuesday, Cloe Feldman, a social media influencer and vlogger, posted a seemingly obvious question on her Instagram story, which she then cross-posted to Twitter: “What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel,” accompanied by a recording of a computerized voice that is clearly saying “Laurel.”
Some maniacs, some of whom I work with, swear they hear “Yanny” even though the recording, in the plainest English, says the word “Laurel.” Some even claim to be able to hear both words at once.
Because the internet is a place where opinions are given equal weight, some generous people have tried to understand what would cause an ostensibly logical person to think they’re hearing “Yanny” — and the answer seems to boil down to frequency. According to a theory posited by one redditor, what you hear depends on the amount of bass that’s being produced from the device you’re listening on.
By manipulating audio and changing the pitch of the voice, we upstanding citizens who hear “Laurel” can, for brief seconds, hear what the world sounds like through the ears of a maniac.
I'm playing with the audio in Audacity so I can hear both Laurel and Yanny because I'm a normal person with a normal brain— Russell Steinberg (@Russ_Steinberg) May 15, 2018
But even though the generosity of these strangers is proof that the internet is an open and weird and great place where we can connect with people who don’t see or hear the world the way we might, the voice is clearly saying “Laurel.”