BOSTON (CBS) – Remember this little gold and white dress?  Or was it blue and black?  Well, as Dr. Mallika Marshall reports, someone’s at it again, this time messing with our hearing.

A four-second audio clip has got everybody talking and everybody picking sides.  What do you hear?  Yanny?  Or Laurel?

“Our brain loves to categorize things,” says Kevin Franck, PhD, Director of Audiology at Mass. Eye and Ear.  “It wants to make meaning out of mess,” he adds.

Dr. Franck says the way we hear speech has a lot to do with our childhood.

“When we’re babies, we learn language and they’re boundaries in that language that are kind of arbitrary,” he explains. “The difference between one vowel and another and one word from another are only meaningful when it’s different for that child.”

Dr. Franck says normal speech carries a lot of extra signals so it’s easy to communicate in all kinds of environments, but this recording has stripped all of that extra information away.

“I think whoever made this was clever and really brought it down to the bare minimum of what’s able to be perceived so that difference between the Yanny and the Laurel in terms of the word itself, there is no redundancy.  It’s so simplistic that it will either fall to one side or fall to the other,” Dr. Franck explains.

Whether you hear Yanny or Laurel or even Harry, blame your brain and not your ears.

Dr. Franck says how you hear the word probably has little to do with your age or your gender but maybe whoever put this out there is conducting a huge psychological experiment on us all.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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