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Finding inner peace in the tough times of Yanny versus Laurel

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Emmanuelle Copeland

More stories from Emmanuelle Copeland

TBT: Janella Guzman
February 7, 2019
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Finding inner peace in the tough times of Yanny versus Laurel

Three years ago “the dress” broke the internet. Is it black and blue or is it white and gold? But now a new controversy has stirred the pot once more. Yanny versus Laurel.

In this audio clip, a digitally altered voice can be heard saying a word that people have interpreted as either as the names Yanny or Laurel. People are getting so heated on this issue I would not be surprised if anyone thought “Yanny v. Laurel” was a federal lawsuit.

In the last day, I’ve heard so many people screaming about this when in reality there is only one correct answer: people are dumb. Well, maybe that’s too strong a statement. The more accurate way to phrase that is that people’s perceptions of their reality are, for the most part, completely arbitrary. And this internet debacle is the perfect example.

In this case, what has been explained by about every major news network is that a visual analysis will find that the actual sound waves for the two words are extremely similar. But because the clip is so distorted, it is packed with a lot of high frequencies, and your ability to pick out these determines what you hear.

Here’s another problem with this debate. People are often primed into choosing these two options. If you are told to choose between two options, your brain will seek out those two options and latch on to what it finds. In all honesty, when I first heard this clip, I heard Gary, which was apparently the wrong answer. But is it though?

Your brain is constantly lying to you, and auditory reactions are some of the easiest to trick. If you look up the McGurk effect, you’ll find that seeing a word being said by a moving pair of lips can alter how you hear it. If you look up the Franssen effect, you’ll find the way your brain locates where a sound comes from can be easily tricked by changing volumes on speakers. If you keep asking me about my opinion on this debate, you will find that I will think you are the worst type of person who probably is still asking people if water is wet.

The world is a big place. Even what is immediately around you is too much for you to actually take in and process. So your mind dumbs just about everything down. And there’s no point in trying to fight this. Your reality is guaranteed to be wrong, and that’s okay because everyone’s reality is also equally wrong.

There are better thing to worry about. America literally has two different nuclear weapons crises which, correct me if I’m wrong, seems like a pretty big issue.

Is it Yanny or Laurel? Is water wet? Are Pop-tarts ravioli? How many holes are in a straw? It does not matter. Go spend your time dedicated to bigger and better things, for example literally anything else.

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Finding inner peace in the tough times of Yanny versus Laurel