Yanny/Laurel conundrum: The science behind the confusing audio clip explained

author_img Team Indulge Published :  18th May 2018 01:17 PM   |   Published :   |  18th May 2018 01:17 PM

Like any viral clip, this one also began when Cloe Feldman, a YouTuber, and social media influencer, added this audio clip to her Instagram story and then took to Twitter, asking, “What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel.” And in no time it blew up.

What made it viral is that while some people thought it's obviously Laurel, the rest were convinced that the robot voice was saying Yanny. On the other hand, some people have claimed to hear both and some others hear words that are not at all related to either Yanny or Laurel, such as Garry or Geery.

For those who are wondering what actually is going on, let us break it down for you.

While one reason for the confusion can be the poor quality of the recording, the main reason is the frequency of the clip. The confusing audio clip is playing around with frequency and the words the listener hears will depend on the range of frequency that the person picks up from the clip.

To make it more clear, humans typically pay attention to three different frequencies when they’re listening to speech. The lowest of the three frequencies is absolutely essential for the L’s and R’s — the consonants that make up Laurel. The word Yanny, the second frequency, has almost exactly the same pattern as the L, R, L in Laurel. 

So if you’re hearing Laurel, you’re likely picking up on the lower frequency. If you hear Yanny, you’re picking up on the higher frequency. It really comes down to how our brains pick up and interpret these frequencies.