'Yanny' or 'Laurel'? The audio enigma taking social media by storm

'Yanny' or 'Laurel'? The audio enigma taking social media by storm
By Emma Beswick

First, there was that dress — gold or blue? Now there's a new online conundrum that will have you scratching your head.

Two, seemingly unrelated, words “Yanny” and “Laurel” have divided the internet.

While in 2015 that dress split opinions — gold or blue — this time around it's an audio recording that has got people talking.

The source of the mystery can be traced back to social media vlogger and influencer Cloe Feldman who Tuesday posted an audio clip on her Instagram story and on Twitter with a computer-generated voice saying one word.

She asked her followers: "What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel.”

Her follower-base was divided on which word they heard — some even claimed to hear both — and so was the wider social-media sphere as the post quickly disseminated.

The post had over 20,000 retweets and 11,000 comments at the time of writing.

Users online speculated as to the reason for the different interpretations of the recording.

Many claimed the pitch at which the recording was played explained the difference.

Brad Story from the University of Arizona's Speech Acoustics and Physiology Lab told the National Geographic it was about the frequencies we hear, or expect to hear.

“I'm pretty sure the original recording was 'laurel,'" he says. "The reason it can be confused is that there is a family of frequencies produced by the shape of our throat and mouth."

What do you hear?

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