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Remember that social media frenzy from a few years back?

That viral dress… was it black and blue or white and gold? People went bonkers over the discrepancy and the whole thing was something of a mystery. Half of the people (who actually cared about this) could swear the dress was black and blue and the rest would bet their bottom dollar the frock was white and gold.

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Like anything else, interest in the "dress debate" waned as people grew bored of looking at the darn thing. But if your ears are ringing, it may be due to the latest internet craze – the "Yanny/Laurel" conundrum. Thanks to a reddit user who goes by the name of "blackmagicfuckery" (classy), a posting of an audio clip is causing confusion. Some people hear "Yanny" while others are sure it's "Laurel."

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Naturally, the 2018 version of the "dress debate" is causing the collective ears of America to perk up. People are having fun weighing in on the silliness of it all, yet it is pretty interesting that different people can hear two completely different words when listening to the very same clip.

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Some experts argue that, as Meghan Trainor would sing, it's "All About That Bass." Notes Vox, "What you hear depends on the amount of bass that's being produced from the device you're listening on." And as per CBS News, "Howard Nusbaum, a psychologist who studies speech science at the University of Chicago explained that differently shaped ears focus sounds differently. You might actually hear sounds differently than the person next to you."

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According to Independent, "The recording is actually two voices laid on top of each other, saying both words. Your brain is unable to hear both at once, so picks between the two – and that decides which one you hear. The difference seems to arise because the voice that says 'Laurel' is deeper than the one that says 'Yanny'. So people will be predisposed to hearing one or the other, for a variety of reasons. Younger people, for instance, are generally better at hearing higher sounds. So younger people will be more likely to hear the 'Yanny' voice."

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Yanni or Laurel? Let's call the whole thing off!

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Give it a listen and chime in with what your ears are telling you.


Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, AMC Daycare, and more.


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