Annoying Sounds


In the Second Exam in Perception in the Fall Term, 2010, this question appeared:


In a recent psychological study of annoying sounds, the winner was a scraping sound made by dragging a knife across a cast iron skillet. Great experiment! But, another annoying sound might have won if the experiment had included it. Which one?


Here are the answers


a fire alarm

a nail file on a fingernail is physically  painful to me, so that would win. a crying child.

alarm clock (2)

ambulances and fire trucks in the NYC streets

auditorium chairs squeaking as someone stands up -- kind of like the ones in this room

car breaks screeching

cell phone ringing/ vibrating?

chalk on a blackboard (7)

chewing on aluminum foil

crumpling paper

dragging nails across a chalkboard (19)

gum chewing (2)

gum chewing with mouth open

high pitched tone produced by a microphone when it is not set properly

human teeth biting or scraping against a fork is unbearable

loud crying baby!

my biology lab instructor’s voice

my five year old brother screeching when he is put in a time out.

my roommate saying “I’m going to go night night” at 10:30 on Saturday night

my suitemate who blows her nose so loudly when I am trying to sleep or study or eat or relax

my suitemate’s “alternative” music. It sounds shockingly similar to the knife-across-cast-iron-skillet sound

Nintendos make on long plane flights

pens clicking repetitively

people when they inhale mucus in their nose rather than blowing their nose. that sound is both annoying and disgusting

scraping on a chalkboard

scratching chalk & nails against a blackboard while simultaneously playing electronica music & accompanying fire engine sirens from outside & squeak of heater turning on Ź a symphony!

screeching of the subway

sliding a metal based desk on a board floor. ouch!

someone chewing on ice

someone eating a banana

the laugh track from any American sitcom

the screeching wheels of cars

the sick kid sitting across from you in Butler sniffing up his snot every five seconds

the squeaking of some phantom chair in the back of the room right now during this exam.

the street sweeper

the subway abruptly breaking. especially if its coming from the opposite direction of the train you’re waiting for

wet rubber sole of shoe dragged across linoleum