The newest debate to divide the Internet community involves two words and how they are perceived, according to an article on the National Geographic website.

The four-second clip—in which some people hear the word “Yanny,” and, others, “Laurel”–has to do with the frequencies we hear as well as the frequencies we expect to hear, according to experts quoted in the article.

According to audiologist Doug Beck, who has written extensively for Hearing Review and was quoted in the article, part of the explanation involves the difference between listening and hearing. Hearing, as he describes it, is a “passive” activity that involves the perception of sound, while listening involves adding meaning to that sound. Listening itself can be influenced by a number of factors, including cognitive ability, memory, attention, and more, Beck explained.

Additionally, Brad Story from the University of Arizona’s Speech Acoustics and Physiology Lab, was quoted as saying that the lack of clarity in the clip as well as the similarities in the sound patterns for “Yanny” and “Laurel” means that there could be multiple interpretations for the same sound.

For the full article and to hear the original clip, please visit the National Geographic website here.

Source: National Geographic