Audio clip spurs social media debate over yanny or laurel - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Audio clip spurs social media debate over yanny or laurel

By SHAWN MARSH
Associated Press

Do you hear what I hear?

That was the question Wednesday as a short audio clip sparked a social media debate about whether the word being heard is "yanny" or "laurel." How one hears it is similar to how people viewed a dress on the internet three years ago and raised questions of whether the mind and ear can be out of sync.

The scientific explanation centers more on the quality of the recording and the resonance of speech sounds.

"This is a relatively low quality signal that is played over a variety of devices and the sound was developed to be on a perceptual border," said Todd Ricketts of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Hearing and Speech Sciences Department.

"For example, with a full-range higher quality speaker, I clearly only hear laurel, but over my computer speakers, I clearly only hear yanny," Ricketts said.

Alicia Spoor, president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, agreed the quality was not good. She said the complicated answer has to do with "resonance of the speech sounds."

"When you say the word "yanny" and "laurel," the waveform looks very similar for the first band of energy resonance. However, there is a significant difference in the second and third resonances of the two words, which is how humans interpret the words," she said.

The debate began on Reddit and expanded throughout social media. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted that everything at her show stopped to see what people heard. She said she heard laurel. But New Age musician Yanni was in the yanny camp. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said he'd like "to declare something that is just so obvious: It is laurel and not yanny."

Some speculated online that the age of the listener might determine what was heard, while others changed the pitch to alter results.

"Age can play a role, as well as expectations, Spoor said. However, she still heard "laurel" when she changed the pitch.

For an analogy, she cited the 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Bad Moon Rising:" ''There's a bad moon on the rise" versus "there's a bathroom on the right."

As for the dress that caused an earlier commotion, some people said it was white and gold, while others saw blue and black.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • USC president agrees to step down amid gynecologist scandal

    USC president agrees to step down amid gynecologist scandal

    Friday, May 25 2018 9:52 PM EDT2018-05-26 01:52:20 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 10:24 PM EDT2018-05-26 02:24:17 GMT
    The president of the University of Southern California has agreed to step down amid a sex scandal involving a school gynecologist.More >>
    The president of the University of Southern California has agreed to step down amid a sex scandal involving a school gynecologist.More >>
  • Volcanic ash swamps Hawaii school, turning tennis court gray

    Volcanic ash swamps Hawaii school, turning tennis court gray

    Friday, May 25 2018 2:07 PM EDT2018-05-25 18:07:27 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 10:24 PM EDT2018-05-26 02:24:15 GMT
    (George F. Lee/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP). In this May 23, 2018 photo, lava erupts in the air in Leilani Estates area near Pahoa, Hawaii. The Kilauea volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and ...(George F. Lee/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP). In this May 23, 2018 photo, lava erupts in the air in Leilani Estates area near Pahoa, Hawaii. The Kilauea volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and ...
    Authorities say an eruption at the summit of a volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has sent an ash cloud about 10,000 feet into the air.More >>
    Authorities say an eruption at the summit of a volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has sent an ash cloud about 10,000 feet into the air.More >>
  • Handcuffed Weinstein faces rape charge in #MeToo reckoning

    Handcuffed Weinstein faces rape charge in #MeToo reckoning

    Friday, May 25 2018 12:22 AM EDT2018-05-25 04:22:30 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 10:24 PM EDT2018-05-26 02:24:02 GMT
    (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2017, file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes afterparty in Beverly Hills, Calif. Law enforcement officials say Weinstein is expected to...(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2017, file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes afterparty in Beverly Hills, Calif. Law enforcement officials say Weinstein is expected to...

    Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself in to police in New York City early Friday following a seven-month investigation into sexual assault allegations.

    More >>

    Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself in to police in New York City early Friday following a seven-month investigation into sexual assault allegations.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly