Yanny or Laurel: It’s The Dress All Over Again

Do you remember back in 2015 the story of that black and blue dress that some people saw as white and gold? Or was it that white and gold dress that some people saw as black and blue? Anyway, we now have a new viral sensation: an audio clip is breaking the Internet because people can’t seem to agree whether it says yanny or laurel.

The Dress
This dress is black and blue, right?

Let’s not fight over the color of this dress again, shall we? Another day, another drama. While we were all amazed yesterday by a Tesla Model X towing a 787 Qantas airplane and breaking a Guinness World Record, we had no idea that an audio clip was about to take over the world. Yanny or laurel, what can you hear? The Times has traced the clip back to Roland Szabo who lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia. It all started as this 18-year-old high school student was working on a school project for which he visited the website vocabulary.com. Using his computer’s speakers, he recorded the robotic voice pronouncing “laurel”.

But as Szabo played the sound he had recorded, people in the room disagreed on what they could hear. Some could hear “laurel”, the word originally recorded, while some could only hear “yanny”.

The yanny-or-laurel dilemma was largely discussed on Reddit at the beginning of the week and became viral after a YouTube influencer named Cloe Feldman shared the audio clip on her Twitter account. That’s a lot of social networks in one single sentence!

And just like that, you have a fierce debate raging over this auditory illusion. The Guardian presented a theory: it could be the result of a perceptually ambiguous stimulus. Professor David Alais from The University of Sydney’s school of psychology claims that this so-called perceptually ambiguous stimulus happens when the brain can’t decide on what it is hearing – or seeing in the dress scenario.

It surely is interesting, but as somebody once said, much ado about nothing.

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