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Study: Whining is Impossible to Ignore

In a move that will surely make everyone think twice before signing up for a psychology experiment, researchers with Clark University and SUNY announced that according to their findings the sound of a whining affects human concentration.

In their study, researchers subjected participants to a variety of noises while having them perform math problems. The sounds included machine noises, a the squeal of a saw going through wood, crying babies, a whining adult, and “motherese” — the “baby talk” typically used by adults when interacting with infants. Interestingly, an adult was used to generate the whining sound, as children could not sustain the noises long enough for use in the study. Fortunately, previous studies have found that whining is equally affective regardless of the source. Good to know.

The researchers found that when subjected to the horrific, petulant whining, the subjects made more errors on their math problems. They concluded that while all the sounds were distracting, none had as much of an affect as the wailing whine. This could lend support to the theory that humans are particularly attuned to the panic sounds of children. But that aside doesn’t this whole study does sound awfully familiar, but from where…?

(via Wired, image via Pedro Klien)

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