Yanny or Laurel? This auditory illusion is the new dress

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A clip of sounds is dividing the world.

Listen to the clip below, can you hear “Laurel” or “Yanny”? The internet is divided.

YouTuber Cloe Feldman shared the clip of sound, which originated on Reddit, on Tuesday and it immediately began to pick up traction.

The clip spread like wildfire, with celebrities and mere mortals alike letting their followers know what they heard.

So what’s really going on? A number of theories have emerged in the wake of the clip going viral.

For Josh Beard of the Nerd It Up podcast, it’s all a matter of pitch.  In a video posted to YouTube, he lowered and increased the pitch of the clip, changing what word he heard.

The quality of the clip could also be a factor, Bharath Chandrasekaran, a professor in the department of communications sciences and disorders at the University of Texas told The Verge.

“It’s a little bit noisy, so that itself causes perception to be a little more ambiguous,” he said. “Because it’s noisy, your brain is filling in with what it thinks it should be.”

Others said it’s not all down to the clip. Factors such as age, where you are from and what you may expect to hear could affect which word you hear.

Professor David Alais, from the University of Sydney’s school of psychology, told the Guardian that the phenomenon could be explained because older people lose the ability to hear higher frequencies, and the difference in accent for Australian or British listeners could cause confusion.

“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,” he said.

The debate rages on, but this guy hears something totally different.

Sorry. We couldn’t help ourselves.

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