Patterico's Pontifications

5/16/2018

The New Blue Dress: Yanny or Laurel?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

You remember the gold and white dress that some weirdos thought was blue? This is like the audio version of that. Listen to this and then vote.

Now take the poll. I understand it’s not perfect, but it’s much closer to one than the other, so choose the best answer:

What do you hear in this recording?
Yanny
Laurel
Created with PollMaker

As with the dress, I can process this one way and one way only, and it astounds me that anyone processes it differently. But they do.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

63 Responses to “The New Blue Dress: Yanny or Laurel?”

  1. When I lived in Japan, I learned the reason they get “L” and “ R” confused is that they can’t discern the difference when they hear the sounds. And, I learned we have the same confusion with their “R” and “D” usage. The difference is we make fun of their confusion and they don’t with ours.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  2. the pearl is in the river

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  3. The “Yanny” is up front and higher pitch, but I also hear the “Aural” deep tone behind it.

    I’ll admit, the “female voice” range of my hearing is completely shot, and my headphones are using an EQ setting that emphasize the tones I normally cannot hear.

    Xmas (e63a38)

  4. Tonight I’m going to run a poll to see if the lunatics who see the dress as blue are the same lunatics who hear Laurel.

    Until then, I will have to be content with a small sample size of my colleagues.

    Patterico (c3b99c)

  5. Germans have trouble with the “r”, too. And they cannot say “th” at all, whereas Scandinavians can, that’s why they have to call Thor “Donner”. But that’s all acquired, not physiological, and can be trained out of people to some extent.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. Xmas, thanks. Now that I understand I am listening for a lower range I can sort of hear the Laurel.

    Patterico (c3b99c)

  7. Patterico, I loved the bit at the end of the Popular Science essay. Expectation clarified ambiguity!

    I honestly suspect THIS is behind some of the “ghost hunter” stuff with electronic voice phenomena. Expectation!

    Simon Jester (ad6a15)

  8. Go figure. I’m keeping my eyes closed, trying to hear the higher pitched word and cannot hear Yanny at all. Just a lousy version of a male computer generated voice saying Laurel that sounds as if it’s pieced together from two different words.

    NJRob (b00189)

  9. So that’s good news for people who hear “Yanny”. (I am one.) They can still hear the higher pitches, which are the first to go as we get older.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. Weird. The first time I heard about half of “Yanny” at the start but the rest was of the loop was “Laurel”. Repeats are all “Laurel” and not a hint of “Yanny”. Very weird.

    tom swift (69313d)

  11. Laurel and Gold.

    But, as noted above, I have severe hearing loss in the “conversational” range of tones.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  12. Huh. All I hear is “slow news day.”

    James (c27637)

  13. I have to listen later when I have time, but wanted to be the first to say “off with the ears of any who dare hear differently than I”

    Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized. – Adolf Hitler

    steveg (a9dcab)

  14. Laurel and Gold.

    Dude, we agree on something! Two things!

    :)

    But, as noted above, I have severe hearing loss in the “conversational” range of tones.

    Yeah, my hearing is terrible too.

    Dave (445e97)

  15. As Xmas #3 said, “The “Yanny” is up front and higher pitch, but I also hear the “Aural” deep tone behind it.”

    The “yanny” sound is stronger to me, but I can hear the “laurel” underlying it also.

    pkudude99 (b83b20)

  16. I hear only Vanny not ‘Yanny,’ and no hint of ‘Laural’ at all. And I too have (documented) high frequency hearing loss -too much time around jet engines while in the Air Force ’64 to ’68.

    BTW, Hispanics have difficulties with our ‘J’ because in their native languages it’s pronounced as an ‘H’ sound. Example: when in San Jose, go to Jack in the Box and get a Yumbo Yack.

    ropelight (8139ac)

  17. It looks light blue and gold to me. Then again, a variety of computer monitors display color differently. The colors my screen displays haven’t always been exact. :)

    LJ (445277)

  18. 10. tom swift

    I had the exact same experience.

    JoeH (f94276)

  19. Oh, and I heard Yanny.

    LJ (445277)

  20. Interesting; heard ‘Laurel,’ on a desktop, ‘Laury’ on a laptop and ‘Yanny’ on a television. Seems to vary depending on the caliber of speakers in use.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  21. For me, definitely gold-and-white and laurel (although it sounded like there was something else in background). I can’t mentally process it into anything else.

    Paul Montagu (e6130e)

  22. Laurel,or close to Laurel, both here and on the Curtis and Cosby show on radio station WABC, 770 AM in New York. Nothing at all like Yanny.

    Curtis Sliwa said maybe hearing it on the radio could be different, because of the disgrontifier (something like that but it is probably a made up word – Rush Limbaugh at times has mentioned something like that as a fake word.

    Here it is:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AJargon_of_The_Rush_Limbaugh_Show%2Fholding_page?oldformat=true

    DisgronifierThe “EIB Disgronifier” allows users to reformat EIB web pages.[47] The name comes from a story Limbaugh tells of being tricked by an auto shop into purchasing a “disgronifier” for his car. Also sometimes called “disgronificator.”

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  23. People who only speak Japanese cannot tell the difference between “L” and “R” In one experiment they had a sound slowly change from L to R or vice versa I don’t know and they could not tekk the difference.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  24. The dress is striped. Some blue, some dullish brown.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  25. I don’t ‘hear’ either. What I do hear is closer to “Yammy” than “Yanny.” I have some mid-range hearing loss (in conversation ranges, that is), but I hear this quite clearly as “Yammy.” I listened to this on headphones connected to my laptop. It would be interesting to compare results between desktop, laptop, and TV [DCSCA (797bc0) in 21 above].

    Bill M (fa7476)

  26. After ignoring it for a couple of hours and listening again, the same thing happened; the first word is almost “Yanny” but it doesn’t complete before turning into “Laurel”. All subsequent repeats on the loop are “Laurel”. Listening a second time, the first word is “Laurel” without much of a hint of a “Yanny”. And obviously my speakers and hearing don’t change between the first word and the later repetitions.

    My scientific conclusion – yep, it’s weird.

    tom swift (69313d)

  27. Go figure. I’m keeping my eyes closed, trying to hear the higher pitched word and cannot hear Yanny at all. Just a lousy version of a male computer generated voice saying Laurel that sounds as if it’s pieced together from two different words.

    NJRob (b00189) — 5/16/2018 @ 8:34 am
    Go figure indeed. I had the same reaction to the voice, except I heard Yanny and not Laurel.

    Kishnevi (4e0188)

  28. Laurel, and it isn’t close. The “a” is said as “ah” and the “ull” is clear and distinct at the end.

    Ed from SFV (b95465)

  29. Oddly enough, I hear “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”. And then at the end what sounds like some kid saying a swear.

    Jerryskids (cfad51)

  30. My understanding is it’s really audio junk no English speaker would say, so it all could down to which sense your brain tricks you into hearing in place of the nowhere that is actually there. Apparently these misunderstandings can have consequences in the real world.
    FWIW I hear Laurel.

    Xrlq (f9015e)

  31. Seriously is laurel

    narciso (d1f714)

  32. Sounds like “Yaley”

    Neo (d1c681)

  33. Yanney. Obviously and clearly.

    Cassandra (a815b9)

  34. The now-infamous audio recording itself originated on the resource website Vocabulary.com, under the entry for “laurel,” defined as a “wreath worn on the head, usually as a symbol of victory.”

    JoeH (f94276)

  35. I had the same reaction to the voice, except I heard Yanny and not Laurel.

    You and everyone like you are trying to destroy America.

    Dave (bae480)

  36. You Yanni people ought to stop fibbin’, is all I can say.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  37. Like Bill M. (26), my wife hears “Yammy” rather than “Yanny.” Me? “Laurel,” nothing but.

    And the freakin’ dress was blue, sorry.

    gwjd (032bef)

  38. I heard “laurel”, but my wife has been telling me I need to get my hearing tested, so what do I know?

    Wife: you never listen to me, you only hear what you want to hear.

    Me: Sure I’ll have a beer!

    the Bas (80e68a)

  39. @26. CBS News reported the original was sourced to the term ‘laurel’ recorded for some linguistics project but the playback was ambiguous depending on the frequency ranges set/in use within various digital gadgets we use. It went viral. Hence, how it is ‘heard’ may differ between phones, laptops, a desktop or television. Definitely the case here- television speakers play it back as ‘yanny’ while desktop speakers clearly play it as ‘laurel.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  40. One time, I was standing outside on my front steps and heard, but did not see, a bunch of people a block over, marching and chanting “Hay Mo Po! Hay Mo Po! Hay Mo Po!”. It was kids from the local high school and they were chanting “Save our schools! Save our schools! Save our schools!”.

    nk (dbc370)

  41. It sounds like Gary

    Savannah (f77a6d)

  42. Hence, how it is ‘heard’ may differ between phones, laptops, a desktop or television.

    Clearly the only safe course is to wait for President Trump to tell us what to hear.

    Dave (4e2ac9)

  43. I always hear Yanny but with a little concentration I can hear Laurel at the same time, like I am listening to harmony.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  44. Would be interesting to play it through a pitch shifter to see how much change it would take to hear the other version. I’ll see whether Mathematica can do anything with it when I get home.

    At the very start I can barely hear what sounds like a faint whisper from a couple rooms away but it only lasts for a tiny fraction of a second before going away completely.

    Dave (4e2ac9)

  45. “the pearl is in the river”

    Well played.

    harkin (99ba6b)

  46. “Hay Mo Po! Hay Mo Po! Hay Mo Po!”. It was kids from the local high school and they were chanting “Save our schools! Save our schools! Save our schools!”.

    nk (dbc370) — 5/16/2018 @ 6:59 pm

    Ya damn dummy, it was just your old buddy Ray-Ray on the corner tryin’ to get your attention with his usual “Hey, MoFo!”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  47. OK, so for anybody interested in playing around, there is a free online pitch-shifting application (webpage) here:

    http://onlinetonegenerator.com/pitch-shifter.html

    and I created an mp3 file that the site could process here:

    https://instaud.io/2bN4

    Download the mp3 (or make your own), and then the pitch shifter can shift it up (yanni -> laurel, I assume) or down (laurel -> yanni).

    I found laurel became yanni at around -6 to -7 half tones. At -5 I get the harmony effect Patrick described.

    Here are some versions I made that you can hopefully listen to directly:

    up 4
    up 3
    up 2
    up 1
    original
    down 1
    down 2
    down 3
    down 4
    down 5
    down 6
    down 7

    Dave (445e97)

  48. I heard “Yarry”

    Angelo (a4cbd2)

  49. I heard Yanney, but when I heard it on TV earlier I heard Laurel.

    OMG, it’s that one weird trick!!

    Seriously, they said it depends on the frequency it’s broadcast on, so we are not crazy.

    So perhaps if nothing else we finally know, what’s the frequency, Kenneth.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  50. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/05/16/upshot/audio-clip-yanny-laurel-debate.html

    The chart is a sliding scale and is used effectively to hear both at the same time.

    NJRob (b00189)

  51. I’ll admit, the “female voice” range of my hearing is completely shot

    Xmas (e63a38) — 5/16/2018 @ 8:25 am

    You say that like it’s a bad thingg.

    PS Laurel

    Pinandpuller (71e49b)

  52. BTW, Hispanics have difficulties with our ‘J’ because in their native languages it’s pronounced as an ‘H’ sound. Example: when in San Jose, go to Jack in the Box and get a Yumbo Yack.

    ropelight (8139ac) — 5/16/2018 @ 9:35 am

    On the Telenovela Amigas y Rivales there was a guy named Yimmy.

    Pinandpuller (71e49b)

  53. The lunatics are right, fine host. It’s “Laurel.” They were right about the dress, too.

    It’s very clearly “Laurel.” The dress, I’m more than willing to give you a pass on – even people with only mild mental illness get that one wrong. But this? We’ll have you evaluated under Penal Code section 1368. “Hears words that are not said. Has some understanding of the criminal law process, but cannot assist counsel due to delusions.”

    JRM (c80289)

  54. @ Dave (#49): Thank you for that initiative! I heard laurel at the original speed, and yanny beginning at your “down1″ link. Very cool, but apparently still quite variable.

    Did your more-than-three links comment start off in moderation, by the way?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  55. Like the dress, this is a situation where brains are trained differently. I hear Yanny (distorted). I have no doubt my wife will hear Laurel.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  56. Yes Beldar, it was in moderation for a bit, and I figured it was because of the number of links.

    It seems to me that an enterprising and/or unscrupulous lawyer could use this as evidence to discredit the testimony of a witness who heard something prejudicial to their case.

    Evil Beldar: Ms. Smith, you’ve testified that you heard my client say, quote “Charge him for the expensive widget but ship him the cheap one,” is that right?

    Honest Witness: Yes sir.

    Evil Beldar: And is there any doubt at all in your mind about what you believe you heard my client say?

    Honest Witness: No sir. I heard it as clear as day.

    Evil Beldar: Ms. Smith, I’d like you to listen to this recording and tell the jury what you hear.

    (plays recording)

    Honest Witness: He said “Yanny”.

    Half the jury (who clearly heard “Laurel”): Gasp!

    Evil Beldar: No further questions, your honor!

    Dave (445e97)

  57. Like the dress, this is a situation where brains are trained differently. I hear Yanny (distorted). I have no doubt my wife will hear Laurel.

    ———-

    Now, after listening to up4, up 3, etc, I hear Laurel with the original. Unlike the dress it seems that you can be trained to switch sides.

    ———-

    Now, after listening to down 2, down 1, I hear Yanny again. But going from down 4 straight to the original didn’t do it.

    This seems closer to the rabbit-duck than to the dress.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  58. FOX NEWS played the recording on TV this morning and I clearly heard Laurel, whereas here I hear only Vanny. (see #16 above).

    ropelight (459b44)

  59. The results are in. Laurel over Yanny 52% to 48%. Yannys told to get over it.

    Paul Montagu (e6130e)

  60. 49-Dave:

    OK, so for anybody interested in playing around, there is a free online pitch-shifting application (webpage) here:

    http://onlinetonegenerator.com/pitch-shifter.html

    and I created an mp3 file that the site could process here:

    https://instaud.io/2bN4

    Download the mp3 (or make your own), and then the pitch shifter can shift it up (yanni -> laurel, I assume) or down (laurel -> yanni).

    I found laurel became yanni at around -6 to -7 half tones. At -5 I get the harmony effect Patrick described.

    Here are some versions I made that you can hopefully listen to directly:

    up 4
    up 3
    up 2
    up 1
    original
    down 1
    down 2
    down 3
    down 4
    down 5
    down 6
    down 7

    Fascinating. Thanks for all the sound clips. I heard “laurel” until down 3, at which point I started hearing “yanny.” My husband heard “laurel” until down 4, and then heard “yarry” at down 5.

    When I listened to the clip Patterico has posted above, at first, I only heard “yanny.” But when I opened the blog page in a new window, and played the clip again, I heard “laurel.” It was so weird.

    LJ (445277)


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