Audio clip spurs social media debate over Yanny or Laurel

The debate over whether an audio clip says

View Slideshow The debate over whether an audio clip says"Yanny or"Laurel is tearing the Internet apart. Westend61 Getty Images Westend61

Why would people hear two totally different words?

Experts say the fierce debate all has to do with sound frequency. That's crucial in explaining why people are hearing different things.

It all started with a relatively innocuous tweet from Cloe Feldman. In other words, there are multiple steps that degrade the quality of the audio.

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What is the recording actually saying?

"It's an interesting auditory illusion, if you will", McCreery said. "However, there is a significant difference in the second and third resonances of the two words, which is how humans interpret the words", she said. But New Age musician Yanni was in the yanny camp.

He noticed similarities in the features of these words, which you can see below. It's all due to Yanny-vs-Laurel Mania.

Story analyzed the acoustic features of the words
View Slideshow Story analyzed the acoustic features of the words"Yanny and"Laurel. Brad Story

Some people are focusing in on the lower frequency tones.

Britt Yazel, a neuroscience doctoral student at U.C. Davis, analyzed the sound file and filtered out all the sound above the frequency 4.5 kHz. "Yanny" can clearly be heard when the pitch is lowered, and "Laurel" can be heard when the pitch is raised.

"But not only that, the brains themselves can be wired very differently to interpret speech", he says. Older individuals tend to not have as great of a high frequency range, so they may be more likely to hear "Laurel". It is known that some sounds are audible only to people under 25.

She provides another example.

Do your speakers have anything to do with what you hear?

It can also depend on what you're listening to the clip on and where you're listening, McCreery said.

Finally, go back to the first clip. Amid the background noise, you're able to focus on what your dining partner is saying.

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