SCREECH! Nails on a chalkboard: Why so bad?


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Nails on a chalkboard, why do we hate it so much?

We all have had the same experience at least a few times while in school, the chalk screeching on the chalkboard, or nails on a chalkboard. It makes you cringe just thinking about it! But why do we find this sound so unappealing? What makes it so awful and unbearable?

FingernailsChalkboard1.png

·      I have found a few different theories and we will go through to debunk each of them.

In an October 2012 article written on sciencedaily.com states "Brain imaging has shown that when we hear an unpleasant noise the amygdala modulates the response of the auditory cortex heightening activity and provoking our negative reaction." But what does that actually mean? Well, Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, believes that it is something that dates back to primitive times. This means that the sound similar to nails on a chalkboard may have been a distress call among animals which causes this. One would call it, "instinct." But is it instinct alone that causes these unpleasant feelings when we hear these sounds?

In an article on wiredscience.com took a different approach and even stated that the above article is incorrect. After completing an experiment exposing a more psychological component to the scientific conundrum they saw that when they told participants that they were hearing nails on a chalkboard they reacted worse than when they told a group that they were listening to a contemporary type of music. So this led to the argument that we don't like these sounds because we know that they are unpleasant because that is what we have always associated with those sounds. However if we are told in an experiment that the nails on a chalkboard sound is supposed to be pleasing we are more inclined to enjoy the horrid sounds!

·      This leads to the problem, is it our instinct to hate these sounds? Or have we been conditioned to associate a harsh reaction when we hear them, because we know were not supposed to enjoy them. Setting aside what we already know make your own decision, maybe you will enjoy nails on a chalkboard?



5 Comments

I have always been the one to cringe at the very thought of nails on a chalkboard. I even cringed at the picture in this blog. Although, it clearly seems as if the sound alone is causing us to feel unpleasant feelings, I am now more inclined to believing that we are just socialized to have these feelings. After reading your blog, I believe this is very likely. I feel that a lot of things in our lives that spark unpleasant feelings are simply because we have always known them as being bad. What if we were raised to believe that this sound was pleasant? In my opinion, then we would enjoy the sound of the nails.

I have always been the one to cringe at the very thought of nails on a chalkboard. I even cringed at the picture in this blog. Although, it clearly seems as if the sound alone is causing us to feel unpleasant feelings, I am now more inclined to believing that we are just socialized to have these feelings. After reading your blog, I believe this is very likely. I feel that a lot of things in our lives that spark unpleasant feelings are simply because we have always known them as being bad. What if we were raised to believe that this sound was pleasant? In my opinion, then we would enjoy the sound of the nails.

I absolutely hate the sound of of chalk on a chalk board. I also hate the feel of chalk, just reading the title of this blog post made me cringe. I think it is very interesting that the theory that ourinstincts may be the reason why many people find it to be such a horrible sound. The thought that even though we have evolved and grown into the humans we are today and can still use our ancient instincts is remarkable. WHo would have that that even though we may not need to know or use some of our original instincts we still have them and could use them for everyday events. I do think that it is possible that as humans be both know it is an unpleasant sound and automatically do not enjoy it as well as having some instincts that cause us to not like the sound. I do think that as people we can make ourselves believe that something or someone is more unpleasant or pleasant than they may actually be based on what we have been told or personally believe.
Psychology humans dominantly make their own decisions and can change the way they think about something purely by someones opinion.

I absolutely hate the sound of of chalk on a chalk board. I also hate the feel of chalk, just reading the title of this blog post made me cringe. I think it is very interesting that the theory that ourinstincts may be the reason why many people find it to be such a horrible sound. The thought that even though we have evolved and grown into the humans we are today and can still use our ancient instincts is remarkable. Who would have that that even though we may not need to know or use some of our original instincts we still have them and could use them for everyday events. I do think that it is possible that as humans be both know it is an unpleasant sound and automatically do not enjoy it as well as having some instincts that cause us to not like the sound. I do think that as people we can make ourselves believe that something or someone is more unpleasant or pleasant than they may actually be based on what we have been told or personally believe. Psychology humans dominantly make their own decisions and can change the way they think about something purely by someones opinion. The power of opinion and speech can change anyone's view point on a situation even merely if one likes a certain sound or not.

These two explanations both seem logical. This reminds me or the nature vs nurture argument. Is it nature? Are we some how born with the predisposition that that sound is bad. As babies would we cringe at the sound of nails on a chalk board? Or is it nurture? The nails on the chalk board is well known to be the worst sound ever. We're exposed to it at young ages, there's always that one rascal that does it to everyone in the kindergarten class. I however, don't really think it's either. I find it very difficult to believe that we dislike the sound because it was a distress call. I also don't think we just associate as a bad song because we've been told it's a bad sound. I think it has to do with frequency levels that our ears can or can not deal with. The sound and vibrations given off when the nails scratch the chalk board are simply unpleasing to us and hurt our ears.

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