Audio clip spurs social media debate over yanny or laurel - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Audio clip spurs social media debate over yanny or laurel

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Police: Man rams vehicle into restaurant, kills 2; injuries

    Police: Man rams vehicle into restaurant, kills 2; injuries

    Sunday, May 20 2018 7:43 PM EDT2018-05-20 23:43:00 GMT
    Authorities say man intentionally drove his car into a North Carolina restaurant, killing his daughter and another person and injured more people. 
    Authorities say man intentionally drove his car into a North Carolina restaurant, killing his daughter and another person and injured more people. 
  • For school shooting victims, future plans dashed by tragedy

    For school shooting victims, future plans dashed by tragedy

    Sunday, May 20 2018 7:42 PM EDT2018-05-20 23:42:56 GMT
    (AP Photo/Fareed Khan). Abdul Aziz Sheikh, center, father of Sabika Sheikh, a victim of a shooting at a Texas high school, shows a picture of his daughter in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 19, 2018. The Pakistani foreign exchange student is among tho...(AP Photo/Fareed Khan). Abdul Aziz Sheikh, center, father of Sabika Sheikh, a victim of a shooting at a Texas high school, shows a picture of his daughter in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 19, 2018. The Pakistani foreign exchange student is among tho...
    Among the 10 people killed in the mass shooting at a Texas high school were a Pakistani exchange student, a substitute teacher with a "lust for life" and a boy whose sense of humor made him impossible to not like. 
    Among the 10 people killed in the mass shooting at a Texas high school were a Pakistani exchange student, a substitute teacher with a "lust for life" and a boy whose sense of humor made him impossible to not like. 
  • Faster-moving Hawaii lava gushes into sea, spews new danger

    Faster-moving Hawaii lava gushes into sea, spews new danger

    Sunday, May 20 2018 7:42 PM EDT2018-05-20 23:42:35 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong). A resident photographs toxic gases emitting from cracks in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii Saturday, May 19, 2018. Two fissures that opened up in a rural Hawaii community have merged to produce faster and more...(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong). A resident photographs toxic gases emitting from cracks in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii Saturday, May 19, 2018. Two fissures that opened up in a rural Hawaii community have merged to produce faster and more...
    Lava has destroyed four homes and left dozens of others in the shadow of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano isolated, forcing more residents to plan for a possible evacuation. 
    Lava has destroyed four homes and left dozens of others in the shadow of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano isolated, forcing more residents to plan for a possible evacuation. 

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.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.