As Twitter users around the globe argue about the internet kerfuffle over whether the sound you hear is “Laurel” or “Yanny,” Texas researchers may have a better explanation than most as to why some people hear one thing while others hear another.
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I
— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
Daniel Scarpace, a senior lecturer in linguistics at the University of Texas at Arlington says it’s not as simple as whether different people can hear different ranges of frequencies.
He lays the blame with the original audio file, which contains distortion.
“It seems that some listeners are paying attention to some of this distortion, causing them to think that it’s actually ‘Yanny’ versus ‘Laurel’ especially at the beginning of the sound,” Scarpace says.
Some people are also falling victim to preconceptions, Scarpace says, hearing one of the two words the meme suggests to them.
“The acoustics don’t really suggest ‘Yanny” at all,” Scarpace says. “They suggest ‘Laurel.’”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.