June 24, 2011

Whining: The Most Annoying Sound Ever

Sonia Van Gilder Cook, Time


AP Photo

Finally, empirical evidence has arrived that whining is one of the most annoying noises ever. (As if you needed proof.)

In fact, childish whining is more distracting than the screech of a high-pitched table saw, according to a new study. To test people's tolerance for various sounds, scientists asked them to do math problems in silence, and then while listening to talking, “motherese” (aka baby talk), whining and machine noise. Just to make sure words weren't throwing the test-takers off, they recorded the speech in a foreign language.

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TAGGED: Noise, Sound