Not too long ago, a fierce debate was waged on Facebook over the color of a dress that pitted friends and family against each other. Now another argument is waging over what people hear when they listen to this short clip?
For myself, I hear Laurel, but what do you hear?
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I
— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
As mentioned before this is the audio version of the 2015 dress debacle when no one could agree whether the garment shown was white and gold or blue and black, which only confirmed that people will debate just about anything on the internet, and, as that was explained so can this be.
“Part of it involves the recording,” said Brad Story, Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing at The University of Arizona. “It’s not a very high quality. And that in itself allows there to be some ambiguity already.”Then, he said, you have to take into account the different ways people are listening to this — through mobile phones, headphones, tablets, etc.That aside, Story ran an acoustic analysis on the viral recording of the computerized voice. He also recorded himself saying “Yanny” and “Laurel,” for comparison.“When I analyzed the recording of Laurel, that third resonance is very high for the L. It drops for the R and then it rises again for the L,” he said. “The interesting thing about the word Yanny is that the second frequency that our vocal track produces follows almost the same path, in terms of what it looks like spectrographically, as Laurel.”OK, so what does that all mean?“If you have a low quality of recording, it’s not surprising some people would confuse the second and third resonances flipped around, and hear Yanny instead of Laurel.”Story also said that, if you change the pitch of the original recording, you can hear both words.“Most likely the original recording was ‘Laurel,'” he said.
So, the long and short of it is that if you heard Laurel you won this round of the internet debate.