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Whining Proves To Be Most Distracting, Annoying Sound

June 22, 2011

A new study found that whining was greater than any other noise to use when trying to distract someone.

The researchers had people do subtraction problems while listening to an infant crying, regular speech, silence, whining, a high-pitched table saw and adult baby talk.

They used a foreign language for speech samples in the study to ensure people were not distracted by the words themselves.

People made more mistakes per math problems completed when listening to the whines than any of the other speech patterns or noises.

“You’re basically doing less work and doing it worse when you’re listening to the whines,” study co-author Rosemarie Sokol Chang, a professor of psychology at SUNY New Paltz, said in a statement. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, everybody’s equally distracted.”

People completed fewer subtraction problems while listening to the whining, crying and baby talk than when it was completely quiet.

Chang said there were no differences based on gender or parental status for the number of problems completed.

The paper was published in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology.

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