Science behind the Laurel vs. Yanny debate

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"We asked the trainers and half heard Laurel and half heard Yanny", Yost said, H/T Chris Landers of's Cut4. Some people are hearing "yanny", while others are hearing "laurel".

The poor quality and different audio settings, headphones or speakers could cause someone hear either laurel or yanny.

Story analyzed the acoustic features of the words
View Slideshow Story analyzed the acoustic features of the words"Yanny and"Laurel. Brad Story

If you mess with the frequencies in a recording, you can change what people hear - it's similar to the way that our eyes can be tricked by an optical illusion.

In perhaps the most vexing element of the debate, the majority of listeners hear beyond doubt one of the two words, with few waffling between the two.

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And you shouldn't be surprised by the confusion, says Dave Sluberski, who is a senior lecturer in the School of Film & Animation at RIT and also a recording engineer with the RPO. On Tuesday evening, Feldman said in a video that she was fielding multiple interview requests and searching for the original creator. The question and words on the screen while you're listening also suggest what you could be hearing, having your mind fill in the gaps although the person really isn't saying either of those words. "They're like eight-year-old treehouse buddies with those cans on strings, gossiping about which girls they secretly paid off, or whether it's Yanny or Laurel", Noah said.

The debate began on Reddit and expanded throughout social media.

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"It just depends on the audio and the equipment that you're using", he said. The different things we hear reminds us that our world, and ourselves, are far more unknown than we think. The human brain can't process both at once, though, so it picks one to process, depending on your hearing range.

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