A widely-shared computer-generated audio clip is causing a rift online, with some hearing a voice saying “Laurel” and others “Yanny.” The two warring tribes have proven, if nothing else, that people will debate just about anything on the internet.
The polarizing clip first appeared on Reddit on Monday, before making the jump to Instagram and Twitter after social media influencer Cloe Feldman posed the seemingly innocent question: “What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel.”
The mystery of why people are hearing two completely different things has caught the attention of social media heavyweights like Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Fry. Even Mike Smith, the actor who plays Bubbles on the Canadian mockumentary series The Trailer Park Boys, has extensively weighed in on the apparent audio anomaly.
A number of scientific observers have posited that the discrepancy comes down to how we process different frequencies, the acoustic information that we use to hear. Some of the variation may also be due to the audio device playing the sound.
Online search interest in Laurel is ahead of Yanny worldwide, according to Google Trends. The Laurel advantage is apparent in Canada as well.
Many have drawn comparisons to the infamous dress that divided the internet in 2015, the great debate over the colour of tennis balls, or the colour conundrum about the Vans sneaker.