Research Project Update

A few updates on my research project on chilling sounds.

I’ve now decided on the sounds that will be included in the study. These will be:

  • A stool being dragged across the floor
  • Polystyrene squeaking
  • A baby crying
  • Fingernails on a blackboard
  • Glass bin being emptied
  • Cutlery scraping on a plate
  • Biting into an apple
  • Metal scraped on metal
  • Loud, open-mouthed chewing
  • Windscreen wipers scraping on a windscreen

I was having trouble deciding which to use, as I did not want to end up having sounds that only made me feel on edge. I then read that Trevor Cox, who has conducted research in this area, decided on his sounds in ‘informal discussions with members of the Acoustics Research Centre’ (Cox, 2008). After reading that there was no overly scientific way of selecting these sounds, I set about having informal discussions with my social circle. I made sure that every time I talked to someone I asked them which sound(s) made them feel most on edge and noted them down. After I had collected nearly 30, I narrowed this down to the ten most popular you see above.

A Pulse Monitor

I have also started to work on the methodology. I am going to use a pulse monitor that clips on to the finger and records changes in pulse rate. At the same time, the participant will also have an electro dermal activity monitor on the other hand which will record changes in skin conductance (sweat!). I had considered using an EEG monitor, which would monitor the brains response to the sounds. In 2016 Kasprzak, Klaczynski and Pamula had used this method in their study of annoying sounds and had some interesting results. However, I feel that this may be a little too invasive for my study so will stick to the pulse and skin conductance monitors.

More updates to come!


Cox, T. (2008). The effect of visual stimuli on the horribleness of awful sounds. Applied Acoustics, 69(8), 691-703. dio: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2007.02.010

Kasprzak C, Klaczynski M, Pamula H. (2016). Nuisance assessment of different annoying sounds based on psychoacoustics metrics and electroencephalography. Diagnostyka. 17 (3), p.67-74. Retrieved from


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