Man who recorded famous 'Yanny or Laurel' clip reveals what was really said
Last week, the internet became divided after Twitter user Cloe Feldman posted a surprisingly controversial clip to the social media platform. It was titled, simply: "What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel" - and, given that all one had to do to answer the question was listen to a voice clip, it seemed like the answer should have been obvious. Right?
Very quickly, the seemingly-harmless audio proved to be anything but, and the debates that waged for the days following rivaled those of the infamous blue-black/white-gold dress debacle of 2015 (it was a simpler time back then).
Angry voices from one side of the internet insisted that the voice was saying Yanny, while staunch Laurel supporters let their opinions be known from the other side. Workplaces relationships broke down over the debate, years-long friendships dissolved in an instant, and marriages completely crumbled over the dispute (ok, so that's a tiny bit of an exaggeration) - but, basically: people could not agree on what was being said.
Thankfully, the man behind the clip has finally come forward, and he's here to explain exactly why the audio exists and how people are able to hear different things.
For a day or two, the voice of the recordings - Jay Aubrey Jones - had no idea he'd gone viral.
"I found out yesterday," said Jones, a 64-year-old actor and singer, "and I thought, well, it couldn’t be that huge. Then I heard the recording again online and I realized what a brouhaha this whole thing was - and it just amused me no end."
Jones was especially shocked to find the clip had resurfaced, as he'd actually recorded it way back in 2007 as part of a project with vocabulary.com. In total, he recorded around 36,000 words; one of which was "Laurel".
"I recorded my batch of words," he said, "and I thought that was that."
But, if Jones is insisting that he said Laurel, why can so many people still hear Yanny?
"This all comes down to the brain," says Dr. Kevin Franck, the director of audiology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. "The fact that brains go in one way and some brains go in the other means that we’re all just wired a bit differently based on our experiences."
"The brain is built to turn messy signals into meaning," he said. "It just will not give you ambiguity."
Jones himself says that he hears Laurel (no surprise there), but can also detect a "slight trace of Yanny" - so don't feel too put out if you've just been proven wrong, as even the speaker can see why the mix-up is happening.
So, if you were in camp Laurel all along, congratulations: you've earned yourself a pat on the back and a well-deserved sense of smugness for at least the next few minutes or so. If you were team, Yanny, however, you weren't necessarily wrong per se - it's just that your ears perceive sound slightly differently to the Laurel-ers.
But if you want to mess with your mind even more, there are plenty of audio clips out there that will cause you to question your own sanity, and no doubt destroy a few relationships in the process - you just have to go find them.