In 2016, the debate between whether people saw a dress as black and blue or white and gold became a contentious issue, dividing households, splitting work mates, and taking over social media. In 2018, we have a new debate that is forcing people to pick sides, but this time it’s our ears, not our eyes, being tested. So, do you hear Yanny or Laurel?
Does this dress say Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/4dN2BwIIjp
— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) May 16, 2018
Social media star Cloe Feldman posted the original clip on her Instagram feed earlier this week, asking people to hit play and vote on whether they hear a voice saying the word ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel.’ Similar to the dress debate, people tend to clearly hear one word distinctly over the other.
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I
— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
In the Loop office, we tried our own semi-scientific research into why people are hearing different words. One writer heard Yanny, but after turning down the volume, she heard Laurel, eventually hearing both words. Another writer asked a friend with the surname Laurel what she heard, and the result was Laurel. Like I said, semi-scientific.
More scientifically, it does seem that pitch frequency and volume plays a role in what word people hear the robot voice saying, with researchers at the University of Arizona and the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain agreeing that the word is actually Laurel, but what people hear depends on what their brain hears and on what frequency they’re playing the clip.
So yeah, it’s Laurel. But that’s not stopping people from pledging their allegiance to either side.
Chrissy Teigen is Team Laurel for life, but this means she may lose fans.
I bought your cookbook. I loved it. And now you betray me? #yanny
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) May 16, 2018
James Corden will not be silenced.
I’m a Laurel. You will not silence us x https://t.co/H5p04HjSaB
— James Corden (@JKCorden) May 16, 2018
Ellen DeGeneres is a Laurel woman.
Literally everything at my show just stopped to see if people hear Laurel or Yanny. I hear Laurel. https://t.co/efWRw1Gj0L
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 15, 2018
Toronto City Councilor Norm Kelly was president of Team Yanny…until Wednesday morning.
I hear Laurel now…
— Norm Kelly (@norm) May 16, 2018
Canadian writer Kelly Oxford tried to hear both sides of the argument but couldn’t.
Laurel. I’m trying so hard to hear Yanny BUT IT JUST IS NOT THERE.
— kelly oxford (@kellyoxford) May 16, 2018
Kyle MacLachlan gave a very Twin Peaks-esque answer.
If you wanted to know whether I hear Yanny or Laurel here’s your answer. 😎☕ pic.twitter.com/xnrIby2kmd
— Kyle MacLachlan (@Kyle_MacLachlan) May 15, 2018
The NFL’s JJ Watt tried the frequency trick and now he can’t go back.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) May 15, 2018
And Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani has given up.
I heard Yanny all day and now I’m hearing Laurel on the same device and I can’t hear Yanny anymore. I guess I’ll just go fuck myself.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) May 16, 2018
Again, for the record, it’s definitely Laurel (Editor’s note: it’s Yanny).