Why does the sound of nails scratching a chalkboard make me cringe?

The noise when someone scrapes their nails down a blackboard is unbearable.

5th February 2010
Why does the sound of nails scratching a chalkboard make me cringe? (Getty)

Asked by: Joseph Hill, London

It has been hypothesised that it evokes the sound of babies crying, but it's really not so much the sound itself as the thought of scratching our own nails down a blackboard.

This is quite a painful thing to do because the vibrations are transmitted directly to the nail-bed and we may just be empathising with that sensation.

 


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