Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’?
Why Your Brain Hears One or the Other in This Maddening Illusion
“Basically, there is no ‘true’ word and the stimulus has ‘clues’ based on the formant frequencies that point to either one or the other word,” Oxenham said. A formant refers to the frequencies that carry the most energy when a sound is made, and they depend on the different parts of a person’s vocal tract.
The shape of the tract and the resulting frequencies that come out when a person speaks are due to the placement of the tongue, according to psycholinguist Suzy Styles of the Nanyang Technological University, who tweeted about the Yanny/Laurel puzzle.
It seems like a speech synthesizer must have created the clip, according to Oxram and Styles. In normal speech, Styles tweeted, there are three formants that a person produces, but in this clip, there are more than three.
“So unless this speaker had two completely separate tongues, this ambiguous speech has been carefully crafted to fool the ears. Shall we call it an Ear-llusion?,” Styles tweeted.
Reportedly, if you mess with the sound on your speakers to remove the high frequencies, you’ll hear “Laurel” and vice versa when you remove the lower frequencies.