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Is It Yanny or Laurel - We Asked Amazon's Alexa What She Hears


That's the question as a short audio clip has sparked a social media debate about whether the word is "yanny" or "laurel".

The latest Internet debate is an audio clip that has everyone scratching their heads in disbelief. It then circulated on Twitter this week, where the debate rages on. This time, it's a robotic voice repeating one word.

The video below illustrates this pretty well: By slowing down and speeding up the audio (which changes the sound's pitch), you can start to hear the word differently (at least, I did). "If you remove the high frequencies, you hear laurel". As such, it was quickly compared to 2015's social media sensation #TheDress, which saw entire families torn apart and houses divided.

Even audiologists think this is cool.

'After listening it for some more time, I could sometimes hear a high pitched yanny or a low pitched laurel.

For starters, your expectations play a huge role here.

So why can't we all hear "laurel"? "We automatically fill in the missing sound to make sense". Because if you heard one, there is no way the other was possible.




To illustrate the impact of different frequencies, Dr Freeman filtered the original sound to emphasise just the high frequencies or low frequencies, which can be seen as distinct features in the audio spectrograms below. "Listening is attributing meaning to sound".

There's also something to be said about hearing something you're told to hear.

Yanny and Laurel are the new blue and gold dress.

'I hear Laurel and everyone is a liar, ' one person commented on Roland's post while another wrote: 'ARE YOU SERIOUS.

Some people claim to hear both at different times, only adding to the confusion.

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

Well, ladies and gentlemen - three years after that simple picture baffled the internet, we have a new addition to the stuff that blows our minds. "When you digitize a sound file, you can manipulate it in any number of ways".

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