They're two extremely different words, but people can't figure out if a robot in an audio recording is saying "Yanny" or "Laurel."
Count University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari as one of the many people who have tested their hearing with the test captivating the web. He's unequivocal about the results.
The clip was posted Monday by "influencer" Cloe Feldman on Twitter and Instagram, but the debate picked up steam on Twitter Tuesday night. Three years ago, the internet couldn't figure out what color The Dress was. Now, the internet is fascinated with how people hear differently.
Some people have claimed they heard one of the words for a while, but later heard the other. (I heard "Yanny" Tuesday night but am currently going crazy as I keep hearing "Laurel" when I re-listen to it Wednesday morning.)
So why is there so much confusion over what word is being said?
The secret is the audio frequency, according Lars Riecke, an an assistant professor of audition and cognitive neuroscience at the Maastricht University of the Netherlands. Riecke was interviewed by The Verge.
"The acoustic information that makes us hear 'Yanny' is higher frequency than the acoustic information that makes us hear 'Laurel'. Some of the variation may be due to the audio system playing the sound, according to the article on The Verge. "But some of it is also the mechanics of your ears, and what you’re expecting to hear."
Many older people hear "Laurel," while younger people hear "Yanny."
Dr. Jody Kreiman, a principal investigator at the voice perception laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the New York Times the the acoustic patterns for the utterance are midway between those for the two words.”
“The energy concentrations for Ya are similar to those for La,” she said. “N is similar to r; i is close to l," Kreiman said.
Plenty of things could be influencing listeners' interpretations of the words, including their dialect and whether they used a speaker or headphones, according to The Atlantic.
The audio clip has left the internet stumped and people picking sides.
Calipari was among those who tweeted what they heard. "Without question," Calipari said he heard "Laurel" the second time he listened to it.
Help us decide. Do you hear "Yanny" or Laurel?"