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Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Science |

The most annoying sound in the world is that of a knife against a bottle, says study

The most annoying sound in the world is that of a knife against a bottle, says study

(Cc) Sharon Drummond

A study subjected 13 people to hear 74 recordings, while their activity was measured with an MRI scanner. The idea was to determine which of those sounds was the most annoying of all.

The result revealed that the worst sound is what makes a knife against a glass bottle, followed by a glass raking a fork, and chalk on a blackboard. Now imagine giving of nerves.

The scan revealed that the annoying sounds elicited a stronger response in the brain that pleasant sounds like running water or wind. Although the sounds are processed in the auditory cortex of the brain, the activated annoying sounds, a brain region that processes emotions. When we hear sounds like fingernails on the blackboard, the amygdala takes over, making us more sensitive to noise.

The researchers determined that such sounds are within a frequency between 2,000 and 5,000 Hz, range that our ears are more sensitive and are more difficult to bear. It is unclear why this is so, but scientists note that the screams – usually unpleasant sounds – fit in the same range. Apparently it would be something intuitive or primitive, as an alarm signal.

Link: Is this the most unpleasant sound in the world? (Telegraph)

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