Yanny/Laurel conundrum: The science behind the confusing audio clip explained

Casey Dawson
May 18, 2018

Higher frequency sounds in the recording make people hear "Yanny", whereas lower frequencies cause others to hear "Laurel".

Unless you live under an internet-less rock, you've probably been asked the question sometime this week: yanny or laurel? Story said, "When I analysed 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. The interesting thing about the word Yanny is that the second frequency that our vocal track produces follows nearly the same path, it terms of what it looks like spectrographically, as Laurel".

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also pledges her allegiance to Yanny.

The White House is now weighing in on the Laurel vs. Yanny debate.

While the Obama White House released light videos, the Trump presidency has heralded a more polarized era, and so the attempt at a light viral video by the Trump team did not escape attention. He hears 'covfefe', a word a invented a year ago in a cryptic tweet.

Trump defends 'animals' remark, says he'll always use it
But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president's comments , arguing the word "animals" didn't go far enough.

The audio became viral after being shared on Reddit on Sunday by a user named Roland Camry.

Vice President Mike Pence even made an appearance in the clip, simply asking 'Who's Yanny?'

George Ablett wrote on Twitter: "Think the Laurel or Yanny thing is weird?"

How you listen to the recording will also affect what you hear.

"Expectations can really bias your perception of speech sounds", John Houde, who runs the speech neuroscience lab at University of California, explained to Business Insider.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER