Sound and how the brain reacts to it

Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Medicine. Anything human!

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Post by WordMonkey » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:28 pm

Also wanted to mention that, several years ago when I was shopping for baby toys for my neices and nephews, I noticed that a lot of them were stuffed with crinkly plastic. (Aaaaaaah, crinkly plastic.) So presumably, someone has actually done some research on this, in order to come up with that idea, I'm guessing.

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Re: Sound and how the brain reacts to it

Post by roupis91 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:21 pm


I'm a 2nd year student at Wenstminster University, London and I'm currently working on a project on the stimulation of emotions caused by our exposure to everyday sounds.In my final work I'm presenting an illustrated piece that includes a mixture of all sorts of sounds.
I've been reading all of your comments and I find it particularly interesting how sounds effect you in such a great scale. I personally don't experience emotions is such a degree but I do believe that most people do experience emotions in a much lower level.

What I'd like to ask whether you have any particular interest in music. Either you are musicians, or have an natural talent or drawn to any sort of musical activities?
Do you also have any particularities, like one girl talked about Tourette Syndrome?
Do you think these emotions you get from sounds, are connected to a past experience (e.g childhood), memories or impressions.
And last whether these emotions can change your mood or influence your relationships with others or even your performance at work?

I would appreciate it so much if you could share your thoughts

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Post by baherrma » Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:54 pm

I know exactly what you are talking about. For me, it is the sounds of certain people's voices - usually on the telephone or in recordings where the voices are kind of squawky. I also like the sound of people rustling papers on recordings and the sound of people hanging the phone up on a voicemail. It sounds super weird when I am saying it out loud, but it causes this warm and cuddly feeling to overcome me and I am sort of incapacitated, but it is so pleasant. I have always wondered what causes that, but I am so glad to find that other people know what I am talking about! I would love to know how to get that natural high more often. :D

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Re: Sound and how the brain reacts to it

Post by Elysian » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:22 pm

I'd always thought this was just me... a quirk of my brain that wasn't shared by anyone.
Good to hear there are others. For me it's always another person making the sounds, probably because the state it induces forces you not to think to much, activity ruins it.
I find it to be anything from keyboard strokes to paper sounds, either writing or page turning. Somebody doing paper work and flipping through notes, I'd often fall asleep beside my girlfriend as she studied or did homework for college.
When I say 'asleep' that doesn't really describe it properly. The feeling, for me anyway. is more akin to a trance like state, blissful, peaceful and completely passive. I imagine this is the medidative state some people practise yoga for, or other eastern practises.
It can happen anytime, somebody can be speaking in a cetain manner, usually while reading a list or something in a slow and steady (not monotonous) voice.
I googled the sound of paper and found this forum and I'm glad I did, now I don't feel like such a freak!
It happens to me rarely and I forget all about it until it's triggered again, sometimes weeks or months apart, it happened a few moments ago in the office as two accounts staff whispered and ruffled through some files. It was only when they stopped that I noticed it again and remembered. I can only guess but I think I was like that for a good fifteen minutes, not moving, just listening, when i say listening I mean it in the sense of letting the sounds come to me as opposed to listening with any sort of intent.
The sounds are addictive and if I can't find anything online I'll probably record or edit something suitable, i may even post it on you tube when I'm done, in fact I'll do just that! No reason not to share it....

Here's a list of the things that trigger it for me..please add to it and we'll see what's recurring among everyone...

1. Paper noise...anything related to paperwork or paper packaging.. paper cutting too....

2. Keystrokes and other desk sounds like calculators, measuring, using tipp-ex, etc...soft desk sounds.

3. Whispering...not to me, but others whispering amongst themselves

4. people reading lists as I described above...lists or instructions, this never happened much in school but it did on occassion...

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Re: Sound and how the brain reacts to it

Post by samestory » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:10 pm

The same thing happens to me and I would love to know more. It happens for me mostly when certain people are talking. If I hear a voice that triggers this, I almost fall asleep because it is so enjoyable. It's definitely euphoric. I actually did a search on youtube for soothing voices to no avail. I've noticed that the voices that usually do this are ones that are very low, slow and do not fluctuate in pitch or volume. They stay pretty steady and do not have verbal pauses. I'd love to know more. If I had a recording of someone speaking like this, I'd never have an issue falling asleep!

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Post by Dutchpaul » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:07 pm

Wow, so glad I found this forum. I'm from the Netherlands (so I'm sorry if my English is not perfect) and I've been googling for a long time but I couldn't find any information in Dutch.
Today I found out I'm not the only one who experiences the sensations as described in previous posts.
I don't know anyone around me who understands what I'm talking about.
The first time I experienced it, was when I was in kindergarten. I also remember when I was about 8 years old and we went to the library with our school class. The voice of the librarian, combined with the books she picked up from the shelves; I simply couldn't move anymore and I felt too embarrassed to tell my friends. Usually, I was always making fun at school but now: I couldn't respond to the children around me; I just sat there, frozen but in heaven....
I love the sound of rustling paper, people folding paper or making small noices while they're concentrated and packing a bag, for instance.
Funny enough, some people can fold papers forever and I don't get the same feeling. It doesn't work when my wife reads the newspaper. I have 2 small boys (3 and 5 years old). I sometimes try to convince my youngest son (since it doesn't work with his brother but with my youngest it works 4x as good as usual) to build something with lego or turn the pages of a book. My hair rises and I'm in paradise.
Samestory, I found a soothing voice on youtube (it works for me, at least):
The combination with the paper folding is perfect for me.
Haha, happy to find out I'm not the only one.

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Post by dichremy » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:52 pm

I think I am lucky to meet this good topic.

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Post by ringobeatle2 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:36 am

It's not always the sound, but also the mindstate that you are in. I get the same tingly brain feeling from certain noises in certain situations. This phenomena is common but not spoken about much. I have the feeling it has to do with your brainwaves at the time and the noise stimulates the brain waves to the right level to trigger pleasure.

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Post by MillieKittan » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:39 pm

Sounds have a reasonable affect on me, though I cant say it is profound. I have many noises I cant stand:

1. glass against glass
2. light metal (an aluminium bowl, for example) falling on the floor or being banged against another like bowl
3. clack of heels on the street
4. teeth grating against material (both my own teeth and someone else doing so)
5. insistent, repetitive and dull noise (repeated drumming)
6. humming

I am a pianist, self taught, and though I am told I have a talent for it I fail to see it. I am also at least a little tone deaf so cannot play by ear, and am unable to sing along to anything (I can sing in tune without a backup track, but completely poorly with a song in the background)

Sounds and emotions I associate with them:
1. strong winds - fear (thunderstorms and recovered circumstantial insomniac)
2. slamming doors - fear (not sure why)
3. my boyfriend's singing voice - comfort (personal, won't expand on this one)
4. Very soft clicking - comfort (heating has come on, Mum is awake/ home)
5. Gentle breathing - contentment (other half is sleeping peacefully)

All of these, both the ones listed as hates and the ones just above, affect me in some way if I notice them for too long. Ones to note are the metal upon mental/ the floor, which sends horrible aches through my body for up to two hours at a time, the fear responses because they keep me from sleeping and the teeth grating against material, as I shudder just thinking about it.

All the positive ones put my mind to rest and help me sleep/ relax.

What do you mean by particularities?

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Re: Sound and how the brain reacts to it

Post by TurboCute3000 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:24 am

This is honestly fascinating. I have always had these moments when I'll be listening to something and the oddest sound will set off this tingly feeling in my forehead and the back of my neck, my eyes will start to flutter and my head will feel really fuzzy. I don't know exactly how to explain it. Trying to put it into words makes it sound uncomfortable, but it's the exact opposite. My big thing is certain voices. It's usually the soft voices, but occasionally a medium-volume voice will set me off too. Sometimes, things like the crackling sound the TV makes when you run your arm over it and the static goes beserk, the typing of laptop keys, a bottle of perfume spraying, others that I can't remember will almost, like many of you said, wil put me in a trance.

Every so often though, the most random chords in songs will also make me respond involuntarily, sometimes to the extent of violent shivers (yes, I have fallen out of my chair once at a band concert). For example, in the song No One Mourns The Wicked, the last time they sing "Goodness knows, the wicked die alone" the way the chorus sings "die alone" I get these intese waves of happiness.

I don't think that I relate any sounds to an emotion other than the low beeping sound I metioned before always makes me angry and scared (never found out why). Any pleasant sounds I experience, I always just asscosiate with excitement.

For the opposite reason, I CANNOT STAND certain repetitive noises. Usually it's things like alarm clocks with the repetitive beeping noises. Especially at low pitches... They make me want to tear things apart.

Edit: I also forgot to mention, roupis91, that I do play piano and I am in the school ensemble choir. I'm not extrodinary at either, but I'm pretty good. Sometimes in choir, we'll sing one of "those chords" and I'll just have to drop out and listen because I get so overwhelmed.

I didn't know this was as rare as it appears to be on here. I just figured that other people went through it too, maybe I just wasn't explaining it well enough.

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Post by BlueTongue » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:52 am

I have also always had this phenomenon. For me it is usually people eating or the sound of certain people's voices. When it happens I just sit back and lose myself in the feeling, never wanting it to end. I too have wanted to find something that I know will trigger the feeling and record it.

I have not been experiencing it as much recently and have been Googling it to try to discover what the source of this wonderful experience is, with the hope that by understanding it I can perhaps replicate it. It really would be the most pleasant thing to fall asleep to! :D

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Re: Sound and how the brain reacts to it

Post by sounds » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:44 am

Recently I Googled, "Sounds that put me in a trance like state" and was very surprised to find so many others who share this strange but very comforting sensation. However, I find that I relate to the comments on this site more than the others I have reviewed. The depictions of everyone's personal experiences posted here are very familiar to me.

I'm currently 50 years old and my earliest remembrance of this "feeling" was in the first grade and it remains as one of my most prominent memories to date. It was raining out and the classroom was quite. I sat at the desk in front of Denise, a very shy and quite girl. The teacher broke the silence by instructing us to take out our pencils and begin practicing our letter writing. Even though her command started a rustle across the room, as we all scurried for our Ticonderoga #2's, a strange sensation came over me. It was Denise. I could hear her movements above all the other sounds of the room. She had a clear plastic box in her desk where she kept her supplies. As she took it out and began rummaging through it, the sounds of rattling of pencils and other items in the box combined with her soft whispers to herself struck a nerve in my brain. I can only describe it as if all of my body parts had shut down, all other sounds and thoughts were completely blocked out and a total sense of relaxation had taken over. I can also remember that when the bellowing of the teacher broke my trance, how disappointed I was. I began wondering what had just happened to me and would I ever feel it again? I wanted to feel it again.

For 40 plus years this has gone on, less as I've gotten older, and I never spoke to anyone about it and honestly believed that I was the only one who experienced such sensations. Now as I read these many similar accounts, I realize how silly that thinking was and how comforting it is to know that others feel exactly as I do during these rare times. Over time I came to pick up on other sounds and situations that create this feeling, but it's been many many years since any new discoveries . I think maturing, the addition of increased responsibilities and the stresses of life clutter our minds and don't allow it to happen as easily or naturally as when we're young?

Some of the other sounds that can have this effect on me are the sound of certain voices or watching and listening to a crafts person performing their art. Crafts like carving, pottery making, sewing or painting (Bob Ross). The rustling of paper and the humming of florescent light fixtures aren't as strong but do have a a calming effect. I would have to say that the one sound that has the deepest effect on me, is the sound of scissors during a haircut. It doesn't have to be my hair that's being cut, although that is a very strong sensation, it can just be the quite sounds of the shears and the "barbers" feet shuffling along the floor as he/she works. I've found video clips of hair cutting online and I can almost completely drift away while I listen to them.

I don't know what causes this, perhaps it is something from childhood or our brain waves? Sometimes I feel strange that these feelings exist in me, but when it happens it's amazing and it sucks when the spell is snapped. It's very fragile, such as life..

Sorry I went on so long, but it just came pouring out of me.


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