The Worst Sound in the World

What is the most annoying sound in the world? If you answered “nails on a chalkboard,” your emotional response doesn’t stand up to the science. According to Smithsonian:

[W]hen a group of neuroscientists decided to test which sounds most upset the human brain, they discovered that fingernails on a chalkboard isn’t number one. It’s not even number two. As part of their research, published last week in the Journal of Neuroscience, they put 16 participants in an MRI machine, played them a range of 74 different sounds and asked them to rate which were most annoying. Their top ten most irritating sounds, with links to audio files for the worst five (although we can’t imagine why you’d want to listen):

1. A knife on a bottle
2. A fork on a glass
3. Chalk on a blackboard
4. A ruler on a bottle
5. Nails on a blackboard

6. A female scream
7. An anglegrinder (a power tool)
8. Squealing brakes on a bicycle
9. A baby crying
10. An electric drill

I’ve never heard of a knife scraping a bottle, but I guess I can be glad of that.

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(hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

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