Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
A tool that lets you hear both Yanny and Laurel (nytimes.com)
168 points by collinmanderson on May 18, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 113 comments

I think what's going on here is that the context of the sonic character of an individual's voice is crucial to the brain's processing of the phonetic content of utterances.

I spend my whole life listening critically to things. I was 100% YANNY on two sets of headphones and signal amplification paths. When I moved the slider bar about 1.5 notches to the left, LAUREL sort of "came into focus", and I felt like I grasped the human voice behind this severely distorted recording. Then, when I moved the slider back to the neutral position, I could not hear YANNY at all anymore. Only by taking a brief pause could I 'reset' my brain to hearing YANNY.

There's another processing step going on that helps us deal with distorted or band-limited voices. We're reconstructing in our heads the ideal sonic image of the human voice we're supposed to be hearing.

I hypothesize that if the sample in question came at the end of a few words by the speaker, not related semantically, e.g. "right, seven, purple, elephant, laurel", so the listener could reconstruct a more complete "imprint" of the speaker's voice in their mind, the YANNY outcome would drop to <1%.

Likewise. I had "Laurel" initially, but after going into "Yanny" territory, I can progressivley put the slider back to 100% "Laurel" and still hear "Yanny". Less so in the other direction.

Perception is about matching input to pre-conscious expectation. Once your brain has been primed to one word, you keep on hearing it when given an ambiguous signal.

Keyword: "priming", there's a lot of research on the topic.

Exacly what happened to me, except that I heard Yanny first

Are you talking about the McGurk effect? You hear either Ba or Fa depending on which you expect to hear based on the lip reading (but the sound that is actually playing is Va): https://youtu.be/G-lN8vWm3m0?t=77

It is really cool that small contextual information can change our senses so dramatically without us being aware of it happening.

I'm curious if there is an analogue for the black-blue/gold-white dress. I always saw it as black and blue (which it turned out to be), and held the consious beliefs that "this clearly is an overexposed photo" and "the black and blue color combo is something quite common while I've barely ever seen any gold and white clothing". I wonder if holding those beliefs can have an influence on the unconcious processing of the visual information.

Similarly, for this clip, Laurel is a name (and also otherwise a word) that I've heard quite a few times in my live, while I've never heard Yanny neither as a name nor a regular word.

> " I've never heard Yanny neither as a name nor a regular word"

Fortunate soul has been spared from Yanni the musician: https://youtu.be/Xw7HeJ781Do (actually not so bad I guess)

20 years ago, I liked Yanni enough to see him in concert, maybe thats why I heard only Yanny for days (though I pronounce them differently). Once I heard Laurel, I haven't been able to hear Yanny since. I don't know what caused me not to be able to listen to Yanni anymore though.

I found three different "points" where my perception changes. The first is, when moving left to right one notch at a time, I hear it on change on the 9th notch (1-based numbering starting with LAUREL notch as 1). If I start from right to left, I hear it switch on the middle notch. And finally, if I leave it on the 8th notch, I can hear both ways at the same time and also 'force' myself to hear one or the other. Additionally, I can make it sound like "larry", "gary", "yally" and a bunch of other things on various notches without much effort, like all those 'ghost hunting' shows and their EVPs that sound like whatever the plot needs...

I always heard Laurel, only at 1 notch away from Yanny I hear Yanny and even then it sounds like a robot speaking.

I’m seriously curious about the voices of the individuals who initially heard yanny. I can hear either when I focus on different frequencies and timbre, but I first heard laurel. To me, that is the most pleasant to hear. Yanny on the other hand sounds like a combination of robotic and nasal which isn’t to my taste. Just wondering, does your voice lie in the spectrum of the bugs bunny sound?

As a male with a background in foreign languages, and who heard yanny first, I can confirm that my voice doesn't lie in the spectrum of bugs bunny :). But yes, the "yanny" variant does indeed sound like a malfunctioning robot, high-pitched and nasally.

Wow, I just experienced the same thing! After hearing Laurel I could not get back to hearing Yanny. Tried again after ~5-10min and Yanny is back.

Yes. I started only hearing Yanny, but after hearing Laurel I was slowly unable to hear Yanny again in the same way I had originally.

Aside, this whole Yanny vs Laurel quarrel exposes a good example of how humans seem to approach opposing views in general.

The video sparks thousands of comments on Reddit and Facebook, many of them amounting to "I hear <X> and the rest of you are wrong!" -- surely in jest most of the time.

You have to wonder what fraction of people have the healthy response of "I hear <X> but I want to try to hear <Y> like other people, interesting."

Imagine if this was human nature, instead: "I hate Javascript, but I'd like to understand why someone would choose it on the server instead of assuming they are an amateur." HN would be much more relaxed. :)

Same with that blue vs gold dress "debate." -- Why is it a debate?

I don't mean to suck the fun out of it, though. But I do think it's a caricature of human nature in general.

Generally our mental model of things and sounds is that they have one objective truth, the dress is either blue or gold, the voice is saying either laurel or yanny.

We often don't mind things that have a subjective element such as :- do you like tofu or not. We are prepared to tolerate the differences between people

Our biggest mistake is often to mistake ourselves as the golden sample of what the truth is, so normally, if this wasn't a viral thing exposing that people hear it differently, if we hear yanny, then it must be yanny, and how did these other people hear the wrong thing?

So it's good when we get gentle reminders that we need to question the truth of our perceptions and that it can be tricky to establish what the truth is.

To reiterate a comment I made yesterday, I used to have this viewpoint, that what we see and hear is objective, until I experimented with psychedelics, and my entire concept of reality was shattered.

Reality is objective, we can measure the spectrum of this audio clip, or the RGB values on the image of the dress. But the reality we experience is subjective, whether we hear laurel or yanny, whether the dress is blue or gold. What we see, what we hear, what we taste, it all gets subconsciously pre-processed before it reaches out conscious mind. To tie into another HN article from yesterday, an expensive bottle of wine does taste better to us, even if it's exactly the same wine inside. The objective reality is that it's the same wine, but our subjective reality, from what we see, from what we taste, is that the expensive bottle is a fine wine.

Plato recognised this when he penned the Allegory of the Cave (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave)

I've started to apply this realisation to life in general. If someone has a different viewpoint, I try to understand why they think that way, what has caused them to have that belief. So often in this day and age, people have a set opinion and think that if you disagree you're a bad person, or being deliberately wrong or lying.

As much as I hate to wade into the Trump debate and American politics, this has been one of the failures of the left in the USA. Instead of trying to understand why somebody might support Trump, instead of trying to view the world through a different lens, they just tried to demonise Trump supporters and convince everybody that if they voted for Trump they were bad people.

The political Right do exactly the same thing. Instead of trying to understand the viewpoint of the left, they accuse them of being socialists and hating America.

I was born and raised in deep Trump country, and have agree that most people don't take the time to understand the viewpoint of his supporters. Unfortunately, I also think that the deeper you dig, the more you realize it's an embrace of human selfishness. Trump doesn't have strongly held beliefs, he believes whatever -feels- right. You'll find a lot of overlap with Jordan Peterson supporters, and I'll leave you with a quote from one:

“Whenever I listen to him, it’s like he’s telling me something I already knew,” Mr. Logan says. “Learning is remembering.”

( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/style/jordan-peterson-12-... )

I don't think you understand social interactions online very well...

People don't say it with a serious tone. It's mostly a friendly jab. It's similar to how people say "Chicago has the best deep dish and anyone who says otherwise is simply WRONG". The exaggeration is meant to be a joke

Some people are jokingly exaggerating and some people are being serious. I've heard people have arguments that became fairly angry about which pizza in town is the best. I've heard rather than participated in those arguments because it's laughable (and sometimes scary) when people don't understand the difference between subjectivity and objectivity. Some really do think their way of seeing the world is correct and anybody who varies from that is wrong.

It's also very natural to act in this exaggerated way. Real resentment, subconscious bias and humorous exaggeration are influenced by the same mental model of us v. them.

I naturally joked that I would leave my SO since we're not hearing the same thing, and therefore can't possibly communicate well together; it was only in jest but I could feel this shape of segregation comes all too naturally and appeals to a deeper brain.

There's another angle to this: people are way too sensitive. If they can't take honest negative feedback we'll end up with the current trend of everyone faking being nice to everyone else.

I'm happy the Internet lets us to be so honest and have a break from real life where no real argument takes place anymore because it has become bad social behavior.

Its not a good example actually. Im usually understanding, or at least try to, in professional environments, but when I’m with friends on replying to strangers on social media, it’s a different story. Especially when the topic in question is so irrelevant and insignificant. Is it going to hurt anyone’s feelings? Telling everyone that it’s one of the two and making a (silly) argument out of it is all fun and games at this point.

> But I do think it's a caricature of human nature in general.

The Earth is, after all, an organic computer, and humans are ideas with bodies, thrown into a contest of the fittest. Maybe the planet is just a single cosmic neuron, whose output will be the surviving ideas, weighted by how many humans support them.

What makes "I hear <X> but I want to try to hear <Y> like other people, interesting." any more healthy than "I hear <X> and the rest of you are wrong!"?

It's certainly reasonable and "healthy" to confidently exclaim the latter. I'm quite confident in the fact that I heard "laurel" in the same way I'm confident that 2 + 2 = 4, and I truly believe any other answer to be wrong.

Now, the hearing test is presented in such a way that it would be "healthy" to assume there's more to it - that what you heard may be heard differently from others; this is an interesting yet unintuitive phenomenon. But, of course it's also healthy to assume the reverse. Maybe it's presented in a pseudo-phenomenological manner. Maybe it wants you to assume that some people hear the other word - a trick question. Maybe some people then would confidently and healthily exclaim that what they heard is correct, and no other answer is suitable.

Now, between "yanny" and "laurel", if you said you heard "lemon"...well maybe that's unhealthy - get your hearing checked.

2 + 2 = 4 is a pretty low-information statement: "4" has very little meaning other than "the symbol we assign to the value 2 + 2". 2 + 2 = 1 + 3 is a bit more interesting. 9 < π² < 10 is more interesting still, even though it is just as true as 2 + 2 = 4.

"I heard 'Laurel'" is also a very different statement from "The recording says 'Laurel.'" If you heard "Laurel," you heard "Laurel," nobody can tell you otherwise. But you might not have heard what was actually on the recording. Someone might have overdubbed a distorted version of "Yanny."

I don't know about healthy, but if my goal is the shared pursuit of knowledge and truth, someone who's able to meaningfully distinguish the ways in which they're confident of these various statements will be much more helpful to me than someone who does not. (Unless that person is a superhuman oracle who simply knows the truth of all things and does not need to reason about them, in which case, Lord, I am not worthy...)

2+2=4 is not just trivially true: Typically the symbol "4" is defined to be 3+1. (Actually it's defined as the successor of 3, but "successor" is essentially the same as "+1"). So 2+2=4 is exactly equivalent to 2+2=3+1. This is slightly different to your identity of 2+2=1+3, because 3+1=1+3 is also non trivial.

More information: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peano_axioms

Technology is very tribal I find. It seems like we have tendencies to make our technology seem as intimidating and alien as possible to signal to other tribes our superiority over them.

I first heard Yanny and now I can only hear Laurel.

This one is even more interesting for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pRY3wlKwm8

If I think "Brainstorm" I hear that, but if I think "Green Needle" I hear that.

This one blows my mind. I must have replayed it two dozen times, trying to think of one word but to hear the other one. It just can't be done. There's no in-between, no fuzziness. When I think of "brainstorm", the word is unequivocally that. I even looked for "brain needle" or "green storm", but nope.

I can do "brain needle" or "green storm". Just like Yanny / Laurel, I believe the lower voice (brainstorm) is what is intended to be heard. The distortion artifacts in the higher frequencies just happen to match up with "green needle" - super interesting.

To me, the "Laurel" "Yanny" wasn't as interesting, because I could clearly hear both at the same time in different registers. But I really like this example because I can't hear "brainstorm" and "green needle" at the same time - it really seems like my brain shuts the other one off once I start listening to the audio.

I had the same experience when using headphones. But then I showed it to my wife, through the crappy phone speakers, and she could only hear green needle, no matter what. And I... green storm. So quality matters too.

The one thing to keep in mind that the "s" in "storm" is the "ee" in "needle". It's a high pitch sound that can be interpreted one way or the other.

After listening to it a few dozen times, I'm fairly sure that it actually says Brainstorm and that "Green Needle" is an artifact of the awful speaker. There seems to be some sort of reverberation happening.

This is great because I can hear both very easily while in can only hear Laurel moooost of the time. Here it's much clearer that when primed for "storm", "nee" is at most interpreted as a low deformed echo of "-ain", and when primed for "needle", the low sounds of "-rm" just disappear at the end. Thanks for the link.

those and brain needle and green storm work for me too.

I absolutely cannot hear "needle" anywhere in that. Brainstorm, Grainstorm, even Greenstorm. But nothing resembling "needle".

What, I was expecting to hear the first, but I can only hear green needle.

I can only hear "Brain Needle" :-)

I may be overanalyzing this entire "phenomenon", but it serves to remind me that our own understanding of ourselves is incredibly limited. There seem to be a number of processes happening under the surface that are completely unbeknownst to us. It made me wonder what else I have missed or misinterpreted in other aspects of my life. How often have I been utterly convinced of something? How often am I so sure that what I'm feeling or thinking is the "correct" way to feel or think about a problem? It amazes me that something as simple as a good night's sleep (the phrase, "Sleep on it", comes to mind) can completely change my perception of an event in the course of a few hours. Whereas in the prior evening it felt as if my world was caving in on me, in the morning things became more manageable. The event itself did not change, only my perception. I liken the human mind to an iceberg. We're cognizant of such a small part of it while the rest remains under the surface and out of our sight.

We are repeatedly finding ways to hack general human perception the same way we can hack AI neural network perceptions. It's all very well pointing and laughing at the way we can construct pathological data: 'look, here's two pictures of a kitty, but the AI thinks the second one is an emu and can't be convinced otherwise!'

And then it turns out we're very much in the same boat.

100%. This is going to be one of the big struggles with AI, especially in an interaction like driving. By and large, I don't think humans realize how much they misperceive things, and make little mistakes. How many times have you momentarily seen a face in a bush when it's dark, misheard a sound as your name, thought that you saw a dear old friend across the room, failed to figure out where the lanes are on the road?

We're really good at adjusting to these little mistakes, covering them up, because they're insignificant. But we do them constantly...and then forget they happened. I think that most of us overestimate humans' abilities in really mundane matters. We do well, not because we don't make mistakes, but because we recover from them quickly. (And when they're done in a social context, we have rules of politeness that usually allow us to forgive others' tiny mistakes.)

That high evaluation of our own cognitive ability means that an AI that's "less" than that, which makes "silly" mistakes, isn't good enough. Even if an AI makes far fewer mistakes than a human would at some task, any mistake is evidence that it's not good enough, because "no human would have made that mistake". Our meta-perception of our own perception is so clouded by (natural) hubris that we can't even realistically imagine a typical human's performance for comparison.

This, to me, was a great revelation about the human mind when I studied AI: perception is hard, and I'm actually not that good at it. I just muddle through, with some kind of metaprocess smoothing over all these silly little bumps. (And there's an interesting link here, too, to old meditative practices.)

After playing with this, I can make my brain hear either — and even in rhythmic patterns (Yanny, Laurel, Yanny, Laurel, Yanny, Yanny, Yanny, Laurel). It’s a neat reminder of how much “preprocessing” our brains do before we experience a sound (filtering out what are perceived to be the irrelevant frequencies).

I was firmly Yanny for the longest time, but now I'm hearing Laurel "by default" now. But I can easily hear both throughout most of the slider. In the middle it sounds like two people talking over each other.

> two people talking over each other

This effect very well might be just a side effect of humans' subconscious ability to focus on a single conversation in a noisy room.

It's well known that humans vividly hallucinate sounds - specifically overtones - that aren't really there; given specific sound (harmonic frequency) combinations.

It may be that how well you are able to "hear" (hallucinate) overtones is involved in this effect. Moving into the bathroom changed what I heard, and extra reflection of sound would alter overtone perception. I interpret that as (rather weak) evidence for the hypothesis.

I don't think we're hallucinating the overtones here - with an EQ (like in the link I believe) you can clearly separate the high and low freqs, and they sound like different words. So it's overtones baked into the audio file.

But what you're describing is exactly what you'd expect if you were dealing with overtones, actually - one tone of the two actual tones that create the illusion of the overtone has to be substantially lower than the other, always. If you knock out one tone by dumping some frequencies, the overtone vanishes, and those who were hearing it now hear something else. Those who never heard it, hear what they heard before.

The basic idea here is that if the harmonic match of the two fundamental (actual) tones isn't exact, then some listeners will hear the overtone, but less sensitive (or perhaps more refined) listeners' brains won't hear it. And many conditions will make it easier or harder for the listener's brain to (falsely but vividly) infer the overtone, including a lot of acoustic reflection (my bathroom example.) Completely knocking out one of the two fundamental tones will change what's heard by some - since now everyone will be hearing the same thing.

Similarly, shifting all frequencies up or down, even if all the information is preserved, can cause everyone to lose the overtone since the overtone is now at a frequency above (or below) what we can hear, so the brain doesn't hallucinate what is beyond it's capacity.

Crazy thought: Hearing loss starts at higher frequencies- so is it possible that we have a large portion of population with hearing issues due to years of abusing technology? (I.e. Loud music in headphones, cars, homes?)

The BART is damaging thousands of people's hearing every day and nobody seems to care.

>long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.


We were convinced for months before my friends and I got our hands on a decent decibel reader (didn't trust the phone apps) and it strays well past 85 up to 95 even, for up to 20-30 seconds between stops.

If you ever see a group of nerds with earplugs in our ears shouting at each other on BART, that's my friends and I, we carry extra individually packed earplugs, feel free to ask us for a pair.

30 seconds isn't nearly long enough for 95 a decibel noise to permanently hurt your ears. Even at 100dB permanent damage take on the order of minutes, not seconds. At 90 dB it's measured in hours. Your BART ride isn't hurting you.

Twice a day, every day, for years?

Do you have evidence to support this claim because it goes against my own research.

The OSHA standards are a good starting point. Factory workers aren't even required to wear ear protection if the average noise over their 8 hour shift is under 85 dB. For 95 dB it's something like 15 minutes. From what I understand (and from what I've experienced), the every day repetition isn't the issue, it's the sustained noise for long periods of time. 2 little noisy bursts a day that are hours apart just aren't going to affect anything.

The new BART fleet is quieter: https://www.bart.gov/about/projects/cars/faq

When people are playing music in their earphones, loud enough that you can hear it, while sitting next to them on the bus, they are absolutely damaging their hearing.

And I'm not even talking about big headphones, which do tend to leak a lot of sound, I'm talking about the little earbuds. The sound level in their ears must be off the charts.

Perhaps! I can't imagine living in a city, wearing headphones everyday, and hearing trains go by my apartment everyday is helping me hear "yanny" any better.

I've had documented hearing loss since I was a toddler and for the life of me, no matter _how_ hard I try, I just cannot hear yanny. I really wish I could hear it.

I'm a sound engineer and lifelong 'digital audio hater' who's objected to the unpleasant highs off CDs etc, relative to analog recording, for years. Also sleep in, and frequently use, earplugs, and live in mostly silence, also for years.

Almost impossible for me to hear 'Laurel'. It's Yanny all day, over here.

The effect is still mostly in your brain. It's not that people are completely death to such frequencies, just slightly less sensible. A small imbalance causes your perception to change 100%.

Hearing loss due to loud music in headphones is severely under-rated https://www.headphonesty.com/2017/03/5-ways-to-know-that-you...

I'm reminded of what you would get (aside from a ruined needle) when you played some records backwards.

One example I remember: if you play the opening line of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" ("life is a mystery") it was supposed to sound like, "he will save us, Satan."

It's like pareidolia, but with sound. Once primed, you can hear whichever version you were primed with.

Another One Bites The Dust / it's Fun To Smoke Marijuana is a classic example, here's a nice mashup featuring a priest warning the world about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdXek5d2ocw

> It's like pareidolia, but with sound

Pareidolia includes sound. So this is paredolia. ;)

Wow, I found it depends on which way I'm moving the slider. If starting from the left, I continue to hear laurel until right around the very right side. If I start on the right, and move it left, I start to hear yanny more and more. Even on positions where I was certain I heard laurel when coming left-to-right.

Yes, same here. BUt there is an obvious bias for one of the sounds. I can head yanny all the way to the left side if I step through it slowly. I can only hear laurel until 1/2 of the yanny side. A cool effect happened when getting at an "edge point" where I could hear both laurel AND yanny at the same time.

So this is an auditory analogue of, for example, the young/old woman illusion,[0] right?

0) http://mathworld.wolfram.com/YoungGirl-OldWomanIllusion.html

This would be even more fitting, since it's about frequencies. If you blur your eye (removing the high frequencies) you see Marylin, otherwise Einstein.


Agreed. There is some of that for the young/old woman image, but it's clearer for Monroe vs Einstein. And it's even clearer in this video: https://youtu.be/tB5-JahAXfc

Slider all the way to the right, only hear demonic "Laurie".

To me the "Laurel" just gets more and more distorted, and I start to hear a faint squeaky yerry... yerry... yerry on top of it. But it sounds more like an artifact than like a separate voice. I have no idea how it sounds like Yanni to anyone, but maybe I've lost my ability to hear high frequencies with age. (40m)

This was my experience too, and then it abruptly changed. I couldn’t figure out if the tool or my brain was at fault

Glad to know I'm not alone. I feel as though I've probably abused my ears over the years with headphones and concerts. Plus I've had several experiences where I haven't heard high frequences that were unmistakable to others.

So I end up interpreting the Yanny/Laurel thing through the lens of a pre-existing anxiety regarding hearing loss. I have no idea if that's actually the right way to think of it, but nevertheless it's where my mind goes instinctually.

Push it all the way to the left, listen to the Laural, then slam it all the way to the right during a silence.

I find that if I move the slider while the sound is playing, or if I move the slider really slowly, my ears stick to the last word I heard.

Another thing is that the speakers matter. I can't hear Laural on my laptop, but I can hear it on my phone.

Weird, I hear Laurel all the way until the last tick on the right when I start hearing a very distorted Gailey. To the right of that it's all Laurel

I suspect this has to do with frequency aliasing and high frequency hearing loss.

try different speakers.....when I first heard it I was wearing headphones, so I unplugged to play on speakers, and it suddenly swapped. So it's not just about your ears

So I just tried it on all my devices - PC speaker, Bookshelf speakers, MBP speakers, iPhoneSpealers, Airpods, Earpods, and IEMs - still only hear laurel and gailey/yailie.

Interesting, I hear yanny almost all the way to the left.

What happens when you start at the far left, then move gradually rightwards? I find that my brain's interpretation is quite sticky -- I can hear Yanny quite far to the left, and Laurel quite far to the right, depending on where I begin.

Good observation. I still hear yanny starting more left-center, but it makes a difference

I don't know about this. I mean, to me, the letters 'l' and 'y', and 'r' and 'n' have a very obvious difference. There is another such audio illusion where the word 'oil' sounds the same forwards and backwards, both ways effectively sounding 'oyo'. This is due to the position of the letter 'l' and the sort of elision that happens. However with the laurel thing, I can't imagine it sounding yanny. I could mistake it for wallow but it takes a lot of adjustment to hear yanny. May be I just belong to that 45% or so that always hear laurel.

I have the same feeling and I believe that the initial L of Laurel really strongly shapes the rest of the word. When I move the slider towards Yanny I can still always hear Laurel but I can distinguish the "yaew" that makes Yanny; it's very distinct from the L. I assume that people who naturally hear Yanny first have the same understanding with the weird "yaew" hiding the L. If I'm just expecting Larry I can only sense the deformation as a weird vibration in the sound.

Also I checked on a couple of videos to test my hearing range because I expected it to be quite damaged and assumed that was the main factor and even though it's not a very good form of testing I'm now more convinced that it's the brain treating slight variations differently, with priming playing a strong influencing factor.

Yes, with the slider at near extreme right it sounds yanny (it spooked me a bit) but I guess there's a lot of mathemagic happening. In the twitter post that was posted yesterday [1] however, which I believe was untouched, it was just impossible for me to hear yanny.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17080800

Wow, so I listened to a clip the other night, and it was very distinctly laurel sound to me. This tool sounded like yanny, even with the slider all the way towards laurel, which I thought was confusing. Then I realized that I'm listening to this on my phone, and maybe the speaker not facing me and the sound rebounding off surrounding surfaces affected it. As I rotated the bottom of the phone, and thus the speaker towards my face, it started to sound much more like laurel to me. Cool.

I'm not an english native speaker and all I hear sliding he slider to the right is "Yelly" - with "l's" much like "jelly".

I was wondering about this: how your, let's say, "native phonemes", might affect what you hear. Is there a word like "Laurel" in Arabic, for example? Would that bias non-English-native speakers to "yanny", or another interpretation entirely?

I'm from the Kingdom of Fife (i.e., Scotland) and I also hear yelly (someone being a certain kind of shouty).

Yeah, well... Yanny/Laurel ain't got shit on Brainsteam / Green Needle: https://www.reddit.com/r/blackmagicfuckery/comments/8jxzee/y...

Yah this one seems much more interesting, because you're actually able to hear either or both at will. For example you can hear "Brain Needle" or "Green Storm" just by thinking it

Can't hear "needle" anywhere in that, I absolutely can't.

I only hear needle and I'm a Laurel guy. It's mind boggling.

I find the Brainstorm/Green Needle audio to be far more interesting, as you basically can make it hear whichever you want (including combinations of the two).


I feel like I'm alone on this so I'll speak up. I convincingly hear Larry. Are there any other claims or do people pretty much just claim to hear Yanny or Laurel?

I her Yammy more fwiw

I can't hear "Yanny" at all. It's more like "Yaewwy".

The frequency response of the playback system probably plays a role here too. Try listening on headphones, on speaker, on laptop speaker, on in-car audio.

I heard Yanny first and after I started hearing 'Laurel', it took me to slide a lot to the yanny side to hear 'yanny' very distinctively from laurel. I hope that make sense. Like somebody else commented here, did it open up my brain's receptors to recognise that frequency of sound after being exposed to it only?

Is this phenomenon anything like adversarial images in neural nets? https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/robotics/artificial-i...

Amazing psychoacoustic illusion.

I found the balance point (a bit to the right of center) where I could merely think yanny or laurel to myself in a random sequence and I would hear the matching word 100% of the time.

I finally know what it feels like to have the power to change radio stations with my mind!

I kept hearing yanny even on full laurel, then I tried thinking "laurel" and there it was. ... Ok, when I imagine myself talking with a deep voice I hear "laurel" even in the middle where "yanni" was super clear. Strange!

One of the most stunning illusions of perception I have ever witnessed.

Not feeling so loquacious just now but if you want to dig deeper the threads to pull are perception as bayesian inference and the sampling hypothesis. Olshausen and co are a good place to start.

It sounds more like Yaw Yee to me.

I can finally hear Yanny 1.5 notches to the right, but I have to overshoot and then return. Moving it anywhere left of that first notch instantly goes back to Laurel.

I enjoy forcing myself to hear one of the other.

I only hear Laurel no matter where on the scale I am. Even with 100% yanny, I still just hear a very distorted Laurel.

I was like you until I made a surprise discovery. I hear "Yanny"* if I tense my inner ear a bit (as if I'm about to pop my ears - doing this on demand is not a universal skill apparently)

* I still don't hear "Yanny" - it's more like "Yi-a-hee". Weird, but close, right?

I can hear Laurel, but even with the slider all the way right I hear "yierry" and not "Yanny".

I can selectively hear either if I want to. It's like one of those optical illusions

I still hear 'yanny' even with the slider all the way to 'laurel'

The room matters to me. I hear it as Laurel in my bedroom but yanny in the bathroom.

Ditto here.

I would be surprised if this isn't dependent on the listener's accent.

I can't help but feel that there's an entity somewhere that's benefiting from this somehow.. Crowd-sourced machine learning training? The pessimist in me says that something spreading virally (globally) so rapidly must have some purpose behind it.

Am I alone in being able to hear both Yanny and Laurel in the sound?

I could also hear both the first time I listened to it.

No. I hear both simultaneously as well.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact