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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?


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.


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.


James Corden will not be silenced.


Ellen DeGeneres is a Laurel woman.


Toronto City Councilor Norm Kelly was president of Team Yanny…until Wednesday morning.


Canadian writer Kelly Oxford tried to hear both sides of the argument but couldn’t.


Kyle MacLachlan gave a very Twin Peaks-esque answer.


The NFL’s JJ Watt tried the frequency trick and now he can’t go back.


And Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani has given up.


Again, for the record, it’s definitely Laurel (Editor’s note: it’s Yanny).