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Oh God, The Laurel/Yanny Audio Illusion Is “The Dress” All Over Again

You still have time to save yourself and not listen.

Listen closely to the video above. What do you hear? That’s right; it’s the name of the post-apocalyptic internet gang you’ve been assigned to for our Thunderdome-style battles.

At least that’s the way it feels, as this audio illusion takes over the internet much like The Dress did back in 2015. You remember 2015, right? Yes, I’m talking about that dress: the one that was blue and black or white and gold, depending on how your brain interpreted the colors it was seeing based on the lighting. In the video above, some of you may hear both “Yanny” and “Laurel,” and if so, I’m sorry you have to watch the rest of society tear itself apart like this thing was designed expressly for that purpose by the Joker.

This time, however, the reality is that they’re both right, although I can’t honestly say that’s better or worse than the situation with The Dress, where there was at least an objective reality to fall back on, no matter how poorly depicted it was in the image everyone saw. [Update: The New York Times found the original audio clip, and the objective reality is that it is very much saying Laurel, and “Yanny” is much harder to hear in the original sound file than in the poor quality Twitter recording—so this is even more like The Dress.] If you very distinctly hear one word or the other when listening to the video in the tweet at the top of this article, it may surprise you to learn that both words are actually being played at the same time, with the only difference being perception—and, in some cases, the speakers you’re using.

But it’s true. Take a look at the video below, which plays both at once and then separates the frequencies so you can hear both sounds individually:

While it’s true that an audio system that’s heavier on bass will make “Laurel” easier to hear, and the opposite is true of “Yanny,” that’s still not the only factor. When I first watched the above video, I never heard “Laurel” until the end, but upon listening to it again, without changing anything about the device I was listening on, I suddenly only heard “Laurel” when both were played, until I consciously listened for “Yanny,” and was then able to hear both. My first listen was on my phone’s speaker, so I checked again with my more bass-friendly headphones and still heard both, and now I am cursed to live forever in internet limbo, belonging nowhere.

If you’re able to hear both, it’s kind of like the audio version of changing the direction of a spinning silhouette with your mind:

If you still can’t hear both when listening to the combined audio, then at least you know which side to fight for when judgment day arrives.

Update: Don’t worry, the whole thing has been called off. It’s over. Back to normal, everyone:

(via Max Eddy on Twitter, image: Shutterstock)

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.