There is no worse feeling than when the sound of people chewing, slurping or even slightly tapping the floor with the foot, drives you into a rage and you can do nothing to calm yourself. Would you ever think to blame the brain about it? Well, according to some research studies made at Newcastle University, if you’re one of the above-mentioned people, you could be suffering from a genuine brain abnormality called misophonia.
What is misophonia once again?
“It’s a condition that literally means “hatred of sound”, proposed in 2000, in which negative emotions, thoughts, and physical reactions are triggered by specific sounds.”
Based on a report published in the journal Current Biology, scientists say that when a “trigger” sound is heard there are changes in sufferers’ brain activity. Thus, the report also showed that people suffering from this condition have an abnormality in their emotional control mechanism. So yes, it looks that, unreasonable emotions well up inside all of us who “hate” this kind of noises. Whereas according to further results, these triggered sounds can even make some sufferers’ sweat and also make their hearts beat faster.
A Professor of Cognitive Neurology at Newcastle University and UCL – Tim Griffiths commented on this issue: “I was part of the skeptical community myself until we saw patients in the clinic and understood how strikingly similar the features are – I hope this will reassure sufferers.”
The team of researchers measured the brain activity of each person included in the study using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). They did this by giving to all of the participants a range of various sounds to listen.
These sounds were divided into three categories:
Neutral sounds such as rain, water boiling, a busy cafe.
Unpleasant sounds such as people screaming, a baby crying, etc.
And finally, the trigger sounds such as eating, breathing.
By the end, when the trigger sounds were presented – people who suffered from the misophonia reacted totally differently from the others that didn’t.
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