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New York - Audio Clip Spurs Social Media Debate Over Yanny Or Laurel

Published on: May 16, 2018 10:00 AM
Last updated on: May 16, 2018 01:30 PM
By: AP
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New York - Do you hear what I hear?

That was the question Wednesday as a short audio clip  sparked a social media debate about whether the word being heard is “yanny” or “laurel.” How one hears it is similar to how people viewed a dress on the internet three years ago and raised questions of whether the mind and ear can be out of sync.

The scientific explanation centers more on the quality of the recording and the resonance of speech sounds.

“This is a relatively low quality signal that is played over a variety of devices and the sound was developed to be on a perceptual border,” said Todd Ricketts of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Hearing and Speech Sciences Department.

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“For example, with a full-range higher quality speaker, I clearly only hear laurel, but over my computer speakers, I clearly only hear yanny,” Ricketts said.

Alicia Spoor, president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, agreed the quality was not good. She said the complicated answer has to do with “resonance of the speech sounds.”

“When you say the word “yanny” and “laurel,” the waveform looks very similar for the first band of energy resonance. However, there is a significant difference in the second and third resonances of the two words, which is how humans interpret the words,” she said.

The debate began on Reddit and expanded throughout social media. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted  that everything at her show stopped to see what people heard. She said she heard laurel. But New Age musician Yanni was in the yanny camp. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said he’d like “to declare something that is just so obvious: It is laurel and not yanny.”

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

“Age can play a role, as well as expectations, Spoor said. However, she still heard “laurel” when she changed the pitch.

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.”

As for the dress that caused an earlier commotion, some people said it was white and gold, while others saw blue and black.



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Read Comments (13)  —  Post Yours »

2

 May 16, 2018 at 11:30 AM NYC Says:

Left ear laurel, right ear yanny. Go eat a potato.

3

 May 16, 2018 at 12:17 PM kohengadol Says:

Haven't posted in a while. Can the moderator please remove "educated" Archy's comments. That language doesn't belong here - even with the **

4

 May 16, 2018 at 01:29 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #3  
kohengadol Says:

Haven't posted in a while. Can the moderator please remove "educated" Archy's comments. That language doesn't belong here - even with the **

WTF are you talking about?

5

 May 16, 2018 at 01:58 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

Laurel

6

 May 16, 2018 at 02:39 PM kohengadol Says:

Reply to #4  
Educated Archy Says:

WTF are you talking about?

exactly

7

 May 16, 2018 at 04:33 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #6  
kohengadol Says:

exactly

❄Snowflake

8

 May 16, 2018 at 04:44 PM Anonymous Says:

#notarchy

9

 May 16, 2018 at 08:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

#notarchy

Is that like anarchy?

10

 May 16, 2018 at 10:02 PM AmYisroel Says:

Yanny the first time I played it
Laurel when I played it later

11

 May 16, 2018 at 11:07 PM What do snowflakes hear? Says:

Hashomer/yoni bears, “Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump....”

12

 May 17, 2018 at 02:52 AM Aron1 Says:

Reply to #7  
Educated Archy Says:

❄Snowflake

So, if you're offended by profane language you're a snowflake.
Tell me, oh edumacated one, what is someone who is NOT offended by profane language?
(I don't need to ask about someone who actually uses profane language. I already know that that person is an idiot)

13

 May 17, 2018 at 08:38 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #12  
Aron1 Says:

So, if you're offended by profane language you're a snowflake.
Tell me, oh edumacated one, what is someone who is NOT offended by profane language?
(I don't need to ask about someone who actually uses profane language. I already know that that person is an idiot)

A person who is not offended by the type of language that Trump uses is a realist. Those words exist in the real world and they won't make you a big boo boo, so don't cry, snowflakes.

14

 May 17, 2018 at 08:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Aron1 Says:

So, if you're offended by profane language you're a snowflake.
Tell me, oh edumacated one, what is someone who is NOT offended by profane language?
(I don't need to ask about someone who actually uses profane language. I already know that that person is an idiot)

By the way, using the words "idiot" and "retarded" are on the same level as "f**k" or "s**t".

15

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