'Laurel' or 'Yanny'? Why We Hear and See Things Differently

'Laurel' or 'Yanny'? Why We Hear and See Things Differently

The original audio (which you will recognize immediately if you've heard the viral clip) comes from vocabulary.com - it's a short audio clip to help visitors learn how to pronounce "Laurel", which is of course "a wreath worn on the head, usually as a symbol of victory".

Raising the pitch of the sound file causes many people to hear it more often as "Laurel", while lowering the pitch causes people to hear it more often as "Yanny".

While the internet is split on the decision, Marshmello hears "Yanny" and Chrissy Tiegan hears "Laurel".

CGTN's Audrey Siek and Jim Spellman went around the newsroom to get to the bottom of the sound, and figure out just which word was right: Yanny or Laurel?

It's a sound you'll probably start to hear in your nightmares after hearing it just once.

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Millstine added, "There was some proof out there that Laurel is the original word, the original recording is Laurel and there is a high frequency overlay that got put on to make Yanni".

The sound jumped to prominence when Roland Szabo, an 18-year-old high school student in Lawrenceville, Georgia, posted it on Reddit. The question and words on the screen while you're listening also suggest what you could be hearing, having your mind fill in the gaps although the person really isn't saying either of those words. She said she heard laurel.

John Houde, who runs the speech neuroscience lab at UCSF where Kothare works, said that the either-or prompt of yanny or laurel is a classic example of what's known as a forced-choice experiment.

The debate began on Reddit and expanded throughout social media. "I think maybe it creates something our brains aren't used to and so we interpret it differently", said Marino. Even though we now know the origin of the famous clip, the debate rages on. Dr. Kevin Franck, the audiology director at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, told TIME that the audio clip in this instance forces the brain to decide quickly about what word it hears. "I can't figure out how one would hear yanny".

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