The Magic Behind These Viral Illusions

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The Magic Behind These Viral Illusions

Lola Halverson, Journalist

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Everyone knows the dress is blue and black, and the clip is saying Laurel. Whether you agree with me on these things, we can all conclude these topics are a pretty split issue. In this article, I’ll be tackling all of these illusions and other topics, and trying to put a stop to all the arguments.

Yanny vs. Laurel

    Listen to the video clip you hear at the bottom of the article. Do you hear Yanny or Laurel? Or a mix of the two? I took a poll of our journalism class and 17 people heard Yanny, 7 heard Laurel, and 5 heard a mix of them. When freshman, Katie Hetzel was looking up the pronunciation of Laurel for a language arts project, and when she played the audio she heard the word “Yanny”. She went to school the next day to show her friends, and they all heard mixed words. 

    After scientists examined this audio clip, they had some things to say about it. First off, the audio clip is pretty low quality, “It’s not very high quality. And that in itself allows there to be some ambiguity already.”. Since the clip isn’t recorded that well, there is some flexibility with what people hear. You also have to take into account that there are different speakers on different devices. For example, one person might hear Yanny on a phone, and Laurel on a computer. In the end, it is highly likely the clip was originally Laurel.

Nail Polish and High Heel

     This one isn’t as much of an illusion, and more of what your eyes are drawn to. This came to be because a girl was deciding between which nail polish matched her high heel. I found this one while surfing Instagram, and read many of the comments, which consisted of “This is worse than the dress” and “JUST MIX THE COLORS” just to name a few. Assuming you saw the picture located at the top of the article, you might have an opinion of your own, but that might just change. Our journalism class was pretty split on this picture, with 10 choosing the pink polish and 11 who decided they should pick the purple polish. While many disagreed, we all came to the conclusion (after staring at it for a while) that there was no absolute answer and she could have painted her nails either color, and it would match. If you have a different opinion, leave it down in the comments!

The Dress

     I saved the best for last. This illusion is the original one that made the whole internet fall into a frenzy. Many see either blue and black or white and gold, (some can see all of these at different angles). The results from our class were 23 people who saw black and blue, 2 who saw white and gold, and 2 who could see both colors. When Grace and Keir Johnson are picking out dresses for a friend’s upcoming wedding, they post this photo on Tumblr hoping for some feedback on their choice. The comments revealed the strangeness of this photo, and how many saw different color combinations.

    Similar to the Yanny and Laurel clip, the photo isn’t very good quality, resulting in a large range of colors that can appear to the viewers. Viewers figured out who designed the dress, which resulted in everyone wanting to get there hands on this crazy dress.

End Thoughts

    All memes and viral images have their time in the spotlight, but eventually, they all start to die out after a while, and so did most of these illusions. Sometimes they pop up on my Instagram feed, and I can laugh about how angry the internet can get over stupid things. Other times, someone brings up one of these in class, or at a friends house, and everyone feels the need to speak their opinion on it. For example, when I was getting results for all the polls, everyone nearby started to argue, and I needed to calm them down before it went too far. Sorry to burst your bubble, but in the end, there is no real magic behind these photos, but they can still make the internet go crazy.