Laurel or Yanny? A fact-checker's guide


If you've missed it have a listen to this. The clip itself isn't anything spectacular, it's just the word "yanny" being said in a high-pitched voice... or is it the word "laurel" being said in a low-pitched voice?

One thing that everyone can agree on is that this is the most hotly-contested meme since "The Dress", where people were split on whether it was a gold or blue hue.

"I would guess that because of the poor recording quality, the sound ended up being on a perceptual border", said Todd Ricketts, vice chair of graduate studies with the department of hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. People in the room disagreed about what they were hearing.

It all began when Cloe Feldman posted a video clip to Twitter asking everyone if they heard "Yanny" or "Laurel".

Alicia Spoor, president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, agreed the quality was not good. "The interesting thing about the word Yanny is that the second frequency that our vocal track produces follows nearly the same path, in terms of what it looks like spectrographically, as Laurel". I can't even figure out how one would hear Yanny", while Ellen DeGeneres wrote: "Literally everything at my show just stopped to see if people hear Laurel or Yanny. She said she heard "Laurel".

"Yanny or Laurel" is the new great debate that's taking over Twitter.

Is it Laurel or is it Yanny? This can be attributed to age, gender and other personal demographics that determine how we hear sound.

"Age can play a role, as well as expectations, Spoor said". Perhaps Dawkins really heard "laurel" in the recording.

For an analogy, she cited the 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Bad Moon Rising:" "There's a bad moon on the rise" versus "there's a bathroom on the right".

Either way, it's likely you very strongly believe in what you hear.

First, there's a simple explanation as to why some people hear "Yanny" and some people hear "Laurel".

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