Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Study Confirms: Whining is the Worst Sound in the World

If you've ever thought that listening to your child whine was worse than having a buzz saw cut wood inside your house, it turns out you were right.
“You’re basically doing less work and doing it worse when you’re listening to the whines,” said study co-author Rosemarie Sokol Chang, a professor of psychology at SUNY New Paltz. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, everybody’s equally distracted.”

The researchers asked people to do subtraction problems while listening to an infant crying, regular speech, silence, whining, a high-pitched table saw and “motherese” -- exaggerated baby talk that adults often find irritating.

To ensure that people weren’t distracted by the words themselves, they used foreign language for the speech samples in the study, which was published in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology.

In raw numbers, people made more mistakes per math problems completed when listening to the whines than any of the other speech patterns or noises (though the only statistically significant differences were between whining, the table saw and motherese).

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