What is the name of that "nails on a chalkboard" feeling and what is its purpose?

Everyone knows that feeling. Whether it's from the sound of nails on a chalkboard or the feeling of a fork scraped across teeth, we feel that physical visceral revulsion. Even just the description of the sounds/feelings are enough to trigger the hairs on the backs of our necks to stand up. It's much more than annoyance. What's the name for that reaction? Does it serve an evolutionary purpose or is it just one of the joys of being human?

  Topic Science Subtopic Neuroscience
14 Days 1 Answer 54 views
  • 0

Sarah C

Knowledge Areas : Crafts, Making and Tinkering, Horror, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Thrillers

Reputation Score: 400

Submit An Answer

Answers ( 1 )

  1. Misphonia is the name for the underlying issue - it is multisensory and includes an aversive (physical or emotional) response elicited in the presence or the anticipation of a sensory stimuli. Basically a distinct irritation or dislike of specific soft sounds.  The word literally means "hatred of sound".

    This differs from hyperacusis, which is the "more common" disorder of decreased sound tolerance.  Persons with both these conditions show negative reaction to sounds; however, a person with hyperacusis will show negative reaction based on the intensity of the sound, whereas in a person with misophonia, a negative reaction is exhibited based on the sound itself.  It is a condition in which intense emotional reactions are triggered by specific auditory sounds regardless of the intensity level of the sound.  Nails on a chalkboard is an example of a triggering sound.

    UTC 2021-02-24 12:57 PM 0 Comments

To answer this question, you must be logged in.

Create an account

Already have an account? Login.

By Signing up, you indicate that you have read and agree to Sage's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy