Researchers in England have just published a list of the ten most annoying sounds in the whole entire universe, or, anyway, in the list of 74 sounds they played for participants as part of their study on the brain's reactions to unpleasant sound.
Here's the list of sounds deemed the most unpleasant. (Note that all of them have a frequency range between 2,000 and 5,000 Hz.) Click the top five to listen to mp3 files of the horrible sounds, then use the samples to make a truly dope workout playlist:
- 10. Electric drill
- 9. Baby crying
- 8. Brakes on a cycle squealing
- 7. Angle grinder (a type of power tool, not to be confused with an angel grinder, a power tool of great evil)
- 6. Female scream
- 5. Nails on a blackboard
- 4. Ruler on a bottle
- 3. Squeaky chalk on a blackboard
- 2. Fork on a glass
- 1. Someone asking "Do you mind if I ask you a question?" J/K, Knife on a bottle
Here are the "least unpleasant" sounds. (For some reason, the lab's statement included only the top four rather than the top five. What was number 5? The sound of something secret.)
- 4. Water flowing
- 3. Thunder
- 2. A [cruel] baby laughing [at you]
- 1. Applause
By mapping the brain's response to the sounds, the scientists found that activity in the amygdala (the brain's emotional center) increased during exposure to frequencies between 2,000 and 5,000 Hz. This jump in emotional activity for sounds in the "unpleasant" range indicates that people perceive annoying sounds more strongly than soothing ones.
Bad news for anyone hoping to open an old time country jug band where all the instruments are made of plates and glasses and all the bows are made of rusty rulers, forks and knives, and the bottled sound of a baby's cries.
The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.