An audio snippet with just two syllables ignited an internet meltdown, dividing social media users into staunchly opposed camps: do you hear “Yanny” or “Laurel”?
The collective sensory experiment causing a Twitter tizzy mushroomed from a short audio clip originally published by a high school student on Reddit..
Roland Szabo, 18, said he recorded the seemingly innocuous audio from a vocabulary website while doing a project for his school in the US state of Georgia.
He played it for his peers, who disagreed over whether the syllables formed “Yanny” or “Laurel”.
Intrigued, Szabo sent it to a friend who posted the clip on Instagram and created a poll that quickly went viral, triggering a mass debate that has spread internationally.
Input from celebrities has inflamed the frenzy: “It’s Yanny,” horror writer Stephen King said in a deadpan tweet.
Actress Mindy Kaling agreed.
But supermodel Chrissy Teigen fell firmly on the opposite side of the debate. “It’s so clearly laurel,” she quipped . “I can’t figure out how one would hear yanny.”
US politician Nancy Pelosi managed to express her concerns for net neutrality and make her opinion on the matter known in 140 characters.
In perhaps the most vexing element of the debate, the majority of listeners hear beyond doubt one of the two words, with few waffling between the two.
A straw poll carried out among Young Post staff counted 11 for Yanny, and just one for Laurel.
The controversy recalls the similarly impassioned debate that broke out over the #TheDress: in 2015 a photo of a two-toned frock had social media users tearing their hair out over whether its colors were white and gold, or black and blue.
So what do you hear?