Asked by: Oliver Neal, Oxford
Misophonia is a condition, only recently identified by psychologists, in which people feel angry, irritated and/or disgusted by human-generated sounds, such as chewing, slurping, breathing or tapping. It’s early days, but preliminary studies suggest that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – based around learning not to pay attention to the sounds and practising relaxing when hearing them – can be effective.
Promising results have also come from a treatment approach based around acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), part of which involves practising describing the triggering situation (such as a person eating) to oneself in a factual, non-judgmental way.
Dr Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author. He is the Deputy Editor of Psyche, the sister magazine to Aeon that illuminates the human condition through psychology, philosophy and the arts. Jarrett also created the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog and was the first ever staff journalist on the Society's magazine, The Psychologist. He is author of Great Myths of The Brain and Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.