Yanny or Laurel: What word can you hear in this clip?

'The Dress' has nothing on this.

A clip has gone viral after listeners can't agree on what word is being spoken.

Take a listen and tell us if you can hear 'Yanny' or 'Laurel'.

The clip, which originated on Reddit, was shared by YouTuber Cloe Feldman and has divided listeners.

A sound professor in the US has suggested that older adults can hear Laurel due to the frequency of the sound.

Vote here for what you hear:

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.

When Beard turns the pitch up, “Laurel” can be heard. When he turns it down, “Yanny” emerges.

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.

Additional reporting by Press Association


By Denise O’Donoghue

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