The Science Behind Horrid Sounds

The Science Behind Horrid Sounds

Nails on a chalkboard and a knife scraping on a plate can be mildly horrid at the best of times, but why? apart from they just are of course.

well with some digging around on the internet it turns out to be very primal, though chalkboard haven't really been around that long. A key study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience and funded by the Wellcome Trust, should you wish to investigate further. The scientists at the university of Newcastle revealed that there is actually an interaction between the region in the brain that processes sound and the Amygdala, which is active in the processing of negative emotions when people hear unpleasant sounds. This was done through good old brain imaging where both areas where active at the same time.

horrid sounds

You will be pleased to know that the 13 brains or people as I should call them were given a range of sounds to rate from unpleasant to pleasant, like bubbling water, which just the thought of it relaxes me. The results pointed to a direct link to unpleasant sounds and the activity of the Amygdala, this heightened activity effectively means that it took charge over the auditory cortex and the reactions to them.

It's interesting to note for sound enthusiasts that frequencies generally around 2kHz - 5kHz where the main areas for Horrid Sounds.

All this leads the scientists to an interesting new road to discovering links between sound and emotional disorders like tinnitus and even migraines which both come with a heightened perception of sounds.

But the real juicy list is the top tens so here you go:

Most Horrid Sounds

Rating 74 sounds, people found the most unpleasant noises to be:

  1. Knife on a bottle
  2. Fork on a glass
  3. Chalk on a blackboard
  4. Ruler on a bottle (I'm not quite sure what they mean by this one)
  5. Nails on a blackboard
  6. Female scream
  7. Angle grinder
  8. Brakes on a cycle squealing
  9. Baby crying
  10. Electric drill

Least Horrid Sounds

  • Applause
  • Baby laughing
  • Thunder
  • Water flowing

Do you agree or disagree? leave a comment below (it's free)