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Scientists determine most annoying sounds

Why does the sound of a drill or fingernails on a chalkboard send shivers down your spine?

Scientists have discovered that it’s not your ears that object to the offensive sounds; instead, it’s your brain.

The amygdala (pronounced a-MIG-da-la) is the part of your brain that controls your emotions, and it seems to react very strongly to certain sounds. Your amygdala’s reaction is what causes you to respond strongly to these sounds.

Scientists studied the brains of volunteers while they listened to 74 sounds. The volunteers rated the sounds from annoying to pleasing. Here are the five sounds that ranked as the most annoying and the four most pleasant.

Annoying sounds

5. Nails on a blackboard

4. Ruler on a bottle

3. Chalk on a blackboard

2. Fork on a glass

1. Knife on a bottle

Pleasant sounds

4. Flowing water

3. Thunder

2. A baby laughing

1. Applause

We’d love readers to share what you think the most annoying sound is.
E-mail your ideas to kisdspost@
washpost.com
. Put “sounds” in the subject line.

What we definitely don’t want you to do is try to re-create the annoying sounds at home. Because we’re pretty sure that your whining “But Daaaaad, KidsPost told me to do it” would get a vote from your parents as the most annoying sound ever.

© The Washington Post Company