The Most Annoying Sounds

atkins-bookshelf-triviaThanks to the intrepid and amazingly tolerant researchers at Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne in England, we now know what are the most annoying sounds for human beings. Surprisingly, incessantly whining teenagers did not make the top ten list.

Researchers used MRI to examine the amygdala’s response to specific recorded sounds. The amygdala is responsible for regulating emotions. The study indicated that sounds that were rated highly annoying produced increased activity in the amygdala that in turn regulated the auditory cortex. Researcher Sukhbinder Kumar explained: “It appears there is something very primitive kicking in. It’s a possible distress signal from the amygdala to the auditory cortex.” The most annoying sounds occur in higher frequencies (2,000 to 5,000 Hz).  The sounds most likely to have people reaching for their iPod earbuds are:

1. Knife on a bottle
2. Fork on a glass
3. Chalk on a blackboard
4. Ruler on a bottle
5. Nails on a blackboard
6. Female scream
7. Disc grinder
8. Squealing brakes on a bicycle
9. Baby crying
10. Electric drill

But what about the most least annoying sounds? The researchers found that the most soothing, pleasant sounds were: applause, a baby laughing, thunder, and water flowing. For those who want to reduce their stress, they might want to load up their iTunes with these sounds and place them on a continuous loop.

Read related post: What if Superman Punched You?

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