'Yanny' vs. 'Laurel' Phenomenon Explained with Science

The audio mystery confusing the internet has finally been solved thanks to science. Whether you hear 'Yanny' or 'Laurel' in the trending audio clip, it is all explained in this great video from ASAPScience.
Jessica Miley

Do you hear 'Yanny' or 'Laurel'? The audio recording setting the internet on fire this week has finally been explained with science.

Thanks to the team from ASAPScience who unpack the perplexing audio clip and explain in detail why some of us hear 'Yanny' and some of us hear 'Laurel'. 

There are many factors that may affect what you hear. In a recent Twitter poll, 47% of people heard Yanny while 53% heard Laurel. 

One of the first things to understand is a concept called priming. If you hadn't been introduced to the possibility of hearing 'Yanny' or 'Laurel' you may not have heard either of these words. 

But by reading the words beforehand you are primed to hear one or the other. Secondly, while the words are seemingly very different, they actually share very similar acoustic features. 

How you listen to the recording will also affect what you hear. Listening with headphones, speakers or on a laptop or smartphone will affect what you hear based on sound quality. 

The age of your ears will also affect what you hear, the sounds of ''Yanny play at a higher frequency than those of 'Laurel'. So hearing Yanny might mean you have younger ears. 

Interestingly, one Twitter user shared the recordings with the pitch turned both down and up. When the pitch is turned down 30% you’ll hear Yanny, when it is increased 30% you’ll clearly hear Laurel.