If we ask you to tell us what the most irritating sounds are for you, what would you answer? Maybe it's a coworker singing in the office or a puppy barking tirelessly at dawn or, maybe, that person who usually eat with your mouth open and get you out of your boxes. In any case, surely you have identified some noise that exasperates you.
A study conducted found that many of the most irritating sounds are common to many people, hated and universally despised.
What are the most irritating sounds?
Surely some nails touching a slate are the most irritating and horrible sounds that exist but, apparently, it is not the most annoying noise that exists.
In 2012 a team of neuroscientists from the United Kingdom and Germany They tried to determine what kind of sounds were the most annoying to the human brain and then published the results obtained in a study in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The study consisted of placing 16 people in an MRI machine and monitoring what was happening in their brains while listening to each of the 74 different sounds that made up the experiment. After submitting them to the most irritating sounds, they asked these participants to rate which noise was most annoying. This is the list of most irritating sounds ordered from highest to lowest:
- A knife in a bottle.
- A fork over a glass.
- Chalk on a blackboard
- A rule about a bottle.
- Nails on a blackboard.
- A feminine scream
- An electric sandpaper
- The squeaks of a bicycle's brakes.
- A crying baby
- An electric drill
In order to compensate for so much irritating noise, the researchers carrying out the test also introduced much more relaxing sounds and pleasant. The four noises that turned out to be the most pleasant according to the volunteers of the experiment were:
- a laughing baby
- the Thunder
- flowing water
The scientists who directed the study on the most irritating sounds also realized that the annoying sounds coincided with a greater activity in a specific part of the brain of the participants. Apart from the auditory cortex (which is responsible for processing the sound), the activity of the amygdala was directly proportional to how horrible and irritating it was to be the sound. That particular part of the brain deals with emotions, so it would make sense to think that the most irritating sounds activate this emotional zone.
The most curious thing about the whole procedure is that the researchers found that all the annoying sounds were within a specific frequency range: between 2,000 and 5,000 Hz, which means a rather sharp sound.
"This is the frequency range where our ears are most sensitive. Although there is still a lot of debate about why our ears are more sensitive in this range, it includes screaming sounds that are intrinsically unpleasant. "
said Dr. Sukhbinder Kumar, author of the article.
As I would explain a evolutionary theory , the higher tones are more similar to the alarm calls that our ancestors might have heard. Surely reacting to them could save their lives; get to go into action to hear the shrill scream of a chimpanzee alarmed by some danger for example. These types of examples are easy to imagine and have a quite logical and common sense answer. However, we still do not know why a knife in a bottle can be irritating.
What is clear is that this study has allowed us to know much more about how the most irritating sounds can affect our brains.
"This work sheds new light on the interaction of the amygdala and the auditory cortex. This could be a new incursion in emotional disorders and disorders such as tinnitus and migraine in which there seems to be a greater perception of the unpleasant aspects of sounds "
said the study's lead author, Professor Tim Griffiths, in a press release.
Surely there will be a connection with our farther past, as we said before, and maybe it is also due to some strange type of association that makes some sounds seem more unpleasant to us than others. Anyway, this type of studies and research helps a lot to clarify all these little mysteries that even the human being hides us, will we ever get to know every corner, and its functioning, of our body? What do you think?
Leave us your impressions about our article about the most irritating sounds and less. Do you match in this list that we detail? Leave us your comments, we will be happy to read you!