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People Can’t Decide What This Audio Clip Is Saying—And It’s Basically That Dress Fiasco All Over Again

Just when you thought you had a handle on reality, someone on the internet drops a Matrix bomb and blows everything wide open. In 2015, it was the blue and black dress—or was it gold and white? Now Redditor RolandCamry is turning people’s perception on its ear—literally.

On Sunday, Camry posted a short audio clip of a computerized voice speaking a two-syllable word. He wanted to know what other people heard when they listened to the recording. Just like in the case of the dress, the internet was oddly divided. Some people swore they heard “Yanny” while others heard “Laurel.” Crazier still, some claimed they heard a mixture of the two or switched from one to the other upon further listenings.

It didn’t take long for the clip to appear on Twitter, where it accrued over 7,000 comments and 12,000 retweets.

Have a listen and prepare to have your mind blown:

And the debate began:

Some commenters were taken aback that they couldn’t even hear certain letter sounds:

It didn’t take long for Twitter users to recall the aforementioned dress: 

Even YouTube superstars like Miranda Sings‘ creator Colleen Ballinger were befuddled:

This person posted the audio at various speeds and pitches, moving from fast and high-pitched to slow and low-pitched. They claim that only at the faster speed were they able to hear the voice say Yanny.

What do you think:

But once again, others perceived it differently:

Sounds like persistence won out for this person:

SPOILER ALERT: Answer contained in the paragraph below.

In the end, though, it was a little investigative journalism that won the day, as a reporter over at Quartz did a bit of digging, first at Brainvolts (an auditory neuroscience lab), before finding the answer with “Brad Story, a professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences at the University of Arizona,” who, with the help of a waveform detector was able to prove that the computerized voice is most likely saying Laurel.

There’s sure to be another mystery just around the corner, as there seems to be a three-year cycle developing: The dress in 2015, the Yanny/Laurel debate of 2018. What will 2021 bring?

H/T: Mashable, Twitter


Written by Vanessa Nix Anthony

Vanessa is a freelance-flame-haired-word-ninja-for-hire with a passion for storytelling. Her writing has been featured in The Oregonian, Baltimore Magazine, Oregonlive, KPTV, Metro Parent, and Trulia, among others. She’s the author of the Amazon title, “In Less than a Year,” and her successful Portland-based copywriting agency, The Portland Writer has been helping businesses tell their brand’s unique stories for over a decade. When she’s not writing, cooking, or making magical worlds out of cardboard for her son, Vanessa is hard at work illustrating her forthcoming children’s books or belting out karaoke to favorite 80s or Disney villains tunes. TWITTER: @nessnix, INSTA: @nessnixtony