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Which do you hear? Yanny or Laurel?

There’s not a lot that divides America these days. We’re just one big happy family! So that’s why the internet occasionally has to throw in a blue/gold dress debate — or, in this week’s case, the “Yanny vs. Laurel” audio clip — just to keep things lively.

If you don’t know what we’re talking about, then let’s quickly catch you up to speed:

So which one did you hear? Yanny or Laurel?

Here at OCN, I walked around and took an informal in-office poll, and 15 people heard “Yanny” while 5 people heard “Laurel.” Strangely, for me, it switched back and forth between the two at different times during the poll (a phenomenon which feels absolutely mind-bending!).

A couple people reported hearing “yelly,” while still others insisted it sounded more like “yammy.”

So why is this happening??

Well, for starters, a 20-year-old Instagrammer named Cloe Feldman posted the robot audio clip as a poll on Monday night. And like all things on the internet– Oh, wait. You mean, why are we all hearing different things? Well, that can be summed up in one word: science.

Your brain’s interpretation of the audio clip seems to depend on how much bass modulation you’re hearing.

For instance, some people heard one word when listening through headphones, then heard the other word when listening to a clip played on a phone or laptop. For others, it changed when they heard the audio clip from some distance away, as opposed to when they stood right next to the speaker. Also, in my experience, the word seemed to sound different when there was other talking or extraneous noise happening near the speaker.

Popular Science offers a much more detailed scientific explanation than I could ever give, as does The Atlantic.

In addition, people who heard the recording without visually seeing the two choices for words seemed to not know what to make of the sound at first, while people who read the choices and then clicked on the audio to listen may have been predisposed to choosing one word over the other.

The debate has dredged up old memories of that lovely blue dress from 2015:

Some insisted that the dress was blue and black, while others saw it as white and gold.

Whatever side you land on in these debates, I think we can all agree on one thing: the brain is absolutely fascinating!

What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel? Please leave a comment below!

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