Yanny vs Laurel is the new debate that's melting Reddit and other websites as a new, weird human perception-based quirk emerges.
The dress was white and gold. Or was it black and blue? The viral sensation of 2015 could be surpassed by this, the great Yanny vs Laurel debate. No, we didn't make up the name.
Here's the clip, originally posted to Reddit:
What word do you hear in the clip above? Around half the population claims to hear 'Laurel', the rest 'Yanny'. Whilst some are suggesting that there could be two clips circulating the internet, we've tested the same clip with different people, and found that different words are indeed interpreted by different people.
Some internet commentators have claimed that the discrepancy could be the result of slight differences in the way people's ears are formed, whilst others put it down to volume and speaker settings.
Whatever the science behind the weirdness, the internet has been awash with comment, with Ellen DeGeneres claiming that her show had come to a standstill over it.
Literally everything at my show just stopped to see if people hear Laurel or Yanny. I hear Laurel. https://t.co/efWRw1Gj0L— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 15, 2018
The Guardian reports that Professor David Alais from the University of Sydney's school of psychology says the Yanny/Laurel sound is an example of a "perceptually ambiguous stimulus" such as the Necker cube or the face/vase illusion.
"They can be seen in two ways, and often the mind flips back and forth between the two interpretations. This happens because the brain can't decide on a definitive interpretation," Alais says.
"If there is little ambiguity, the brain locks on to a single perceptual interpretation. Here, the Yanny/Laurel sound is meant to be ambiguous because each sound has a similar timing and energy content - so in principle it's confusable.
"All of this goes to highlight just how much the brain is an active interpreter of sensory input, and thus that the external world is less objective than we like to believe."
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