important journalism

Yanny/Laurel and 'The Dress' – Is There a Correlation Between What You Hear and See?

A scientific study.
May 16, 2018, 11:58am

Ever since that confusing photograph of a dress briefly ruined millions of close relationships in 2015, media outlets have been obsessed with new confusing images "breaking the internet".

None of these images have actually broken the internet, and the vast majority aren't even that confusing (case in point: the "are these legs shiny and oily or are they legs with white paint on them" photo, of some legs, surrounded by paint pens, which clearly just had paint on them???).

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Today, however, the "baffling thing dividing the internet" meme was expanded into sound, with the "Laurel / Yanny" audio clip, and yet again people are quietly judging their close friends over something completely inconsequential, because they heard Laurel and not Yanny, or Yanny and not Laurel, or Yanny and then Laurel, or – inexplicably – "Yammy".

A few theories explaining why some of us hear "Yanny" and others "Laurel" have been posted online, and they all essentially boil down to: both words are being said at different frequencies in the video, and because we all pick up different frequencies some of us hear Yanny and some Laurel (and some both).

However, what nobody seems to have interrogated is whether there's any correlation between which word you hear and which colours you see in the blue-and-black / white-and-gold dress photo that started this whole mess.

The answer, I'm sad to reveal, is no. We just did a mini poll among the VICE.com editorial team and the results were as follows:

Laurel + white-and-gold: 1
Laurel + blue-and-black: 3
Yanny + white-and-gold: 1
Yanny + blue-and-black: 3
Yammy + white-and-gold: 1
Yammy + blue-and-black: 1

So there you have it: a big waste of everybody's time.

More on VICE:

We Asked a Colour Vision Expert About the Colour of that Dress

Throwing the 'Metal Horns' Is the Same as Calling Someone a Cuck

A Timeline of the 24 Hours After I Went Viral

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.