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Ig Nobel Prize Awarded

The coveted Ig Nobel Prize awarded for research analyzing the spectrum components of fingernails on a chalkboard.

Each year, the Ig Nobel Prize is awarded by the Society for Improbably Research for research that makes you laugh, then think. This years prize was awarded for the familiar sound that may make your teeth hurt- fingernails on a chalkboard.

Vanderbilt psychologist Randolph Blake researched the spectral components of the universally adverse screeching sound, and determined that mid-frequencies, as opposed to highs, contribute most to the pained feeling when hearing the sound. When compared to primate warning calls, comprised of similar frequencies, listeners reported having similar unpleasant feelings. In answer to this finding, Dr. Blake said, Our speculation was that the reason the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard have an almost universal aversive quality is that it triggers in us an unconscious, automatic reflex that were hearing a warning cry.

To read the full story, go to http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/releases/2006/10/6/fingernails-on-a-chalkboard-garner-vanderbilt-psychologist-ig-nobel-prize

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