Wednesday 26 September 2018

Laurel or Yanny? You’ll never guess what Donald Trump hears

The White House posted a video including various members of the Trump administration.

By Press Association Reporters

After taking on the challenge of settling some of the world’s most pressing and acrimonious disputes, Donald Trump has waded into another – the yanny/laurel debate.

The self-professed arbiter-in-chief’s verdict is unlikely to settle the global controversy, however it may be evidence the famously proud US president is happy to laugh at himself.

The White House posted a video of various members of the Trump administration, including daughter Ivanka Trump and vice president Mike Pence, revealing what they hear the ear-teaser say.

Giving the final word from the Oval Office, Mr Trump tells the camera: “I hear covfefe.”

It is an apparent reference to an infamous May 2017 tweet from Mr Trump that contained the term – which is widely considered to be nonsense.

Ms Trump says the clip is “so clearly laurel”, while Mr Pence asks: “Who’s yanny?

“All I hear is yanny,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tells the camera, while counsellor Kellyanne Conway – known for coining the phrase “alternative facts” – answered: “It’s laurel, but I could deflect and divert to yanny if you need me to.”

Their input comes after the likes of Chrissy Teigen and Ellen DeGeneres – who both heard laurel – gave their say.

Believed to have originated on Reddit and posted by YouTuber Cloe Feldman on Twitter, the computer-generated voice has become the most divisive topic since #TheDress debate in 2015.

According to Dr Elliot Freeman, a senior lecturer in psychology at City, University of London, the difference in opinion is down to individuals’ hearing.

He explained: “Probably quite accidentally, this lo-fi synthesised voice contains sounds consistent with several different phonemes, like for example, ‘ya’ and ‘lo’, each occupying slightly different frequency bands.

“Like a radio, our brains can selectively tune into them, once we know what to listen out for.

“So even if both people are listening to the same sound, they might disagree because they just have different ear prints.”

Press Association

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