Why Fingernails on Blackboards Sound So Horrible

Michael Oehler von der Macromedia Uni in Köln und Christoph Reuter der Uni Wien haben untersucht, warum Ihr das Geräusch kratzender Fingernägel auf Schultafeln nicht ertragen könnt. Ich hab' mit diesem Sound ja kein Problem, warum auch immer. Bei was ich allerdings zitternd in Embryonalstellung verfalle und mich danach drei Minuten lang nicht mehr bewegen kann: Der Sound, den vollgeschwitzte Handoberflächen machen, wenn sie über eine glatte Tischoberfläche schubbern. Alleine beim Gedanken daran zieht sich mir alles zusammen. People are strange.

Michael Oehler of the Macromedia University for Media and Communication in Cologne, Germany, and Christoph Reuter of the University of Vienna […] found that disturbing sounds do cause a measurable physical reaction, with skin conductivity changing significantly, and that the frequencies involved with unpleasant sounds also lie firmly within the range of human speech — between 2,000 and 4,000Hz. Removing those frequencies from the sound made them much easier to listen to. But, interestingly, removing the noisy, scraping part of the sound made little difference.

A powerful psychological component was identified. If the listeners knew that the sound was fingernails on the chalkboard, they rated it as more unpleasant than if they were told it was from a musical composition. Even when they thought it was from music, however, their skin conductivity still changed consistently, suggesting that the physical part of the response remained.

Why Fingernails on Blackboards Sound So Horrible