Remember a few years ago when the world was a little less crazy and we were a little more innocent and some girl posted a picture of a dress which some people thought was gold and some people thought was blue? What a wonderful time that was, when the internet's main prerogative was good-natured banter over an optical illusion.
Since there, there's been almost daily attempts to recreate that same phenomenon. But nothing has come close to conjuring up that same definitive "Team Gold", "Team Blue" divide.
Enter "Yanny or Laurel". A sound illusion that's got people tearing their hair out. Upon playing the video below, posted by Instagrammer Cloe Feldman, some people definitely hear "Yanny" while others definitely hear "Laurel". See/hear for yourself.
According to a quick poll of the R29 office, it's pretty much a 50/50 split as to who can hear what. According to Brad Story, professor of speech, language and hearing at the University of Arizona, who spoke to CNN, it's the recording itself that allows for this split. "It's not a very high quality. And that in itself allows there to be some ambiguity already." He adds that how people listen to it matters too – if you've got fancy earphones or speakers, it may sound different from those using tinny laptop speakers.
According to Professor David Alais from the University of Sydney’s school of psychology, who spoke to the Guardian, however, the illusion is an example of a "perceptually ambiguous stimulus" which essentially means that because the recording is ambiguous (read: a bit slurry and crap), our brain will lock onto one hearing of the recording and just go with it. How we hear it in the first place, he says, depends on a number of factors such as age (older people have less high frequency sensitivity) and accent; Australians might interpret it differently tfrom North Americans – a bit like how saying "fierce" in a British accent might sound like "face" to someone from Northern Ireland.
Anyway, regardless of why we hear different things, it's causing a fair amount of debate. I, for one, hear "Yanny", and that's the story I'm sticking to. What about you?