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Scientists pinpoint the harshest sound in the world (AUDIO)

Naming the 'harshest sound in the world' seems like it would be a subjective matter, but scientists say they have pinpointed the sound that qualifies for the moniker.

worst sound in the worldEnlarge
Scientists believe they now know the worst sound in the world. (Natalie Behring-Chisholm/AFP/Getty Images)

Perhaps for you it is nails on a chalkboard, or maybe the snap of bubblegum, or even the sound of a particular person's voice. 

Naming the "harshest sound in the world" seems like it would be a subjective matter, but scientists say they have pinpointed the sound that qualifies for the moniker. 

According to a research study by a team at the University of Newcastle, the harshest sound in the world is a knife against glass.

The team examined brain activity in a group of volunteers, who listened to 74 recorded sounds under an MRI machine and ranked each experience, according to ABC News. The 13 subjects found the sound of a fork against glass to be the second worst sound.

The group found that sounds with frequencies of 2000-5000 Hz were the most disagreeable.

The MRI scans showed that these sounds increased blood flow in the brain's auditory cortex, which processes sounds, as well as triggers the amygdala, a primitive part of the brain that processes our emotional responses, according to MSN.

While it's hard to imagine a study like this ever having a purpose beyond finding a better torture technique, Tim Griffiths, the study's co-author, said, "The new finding in this study is to precisely define the loop between the auditory cortex and the amygdala."

In the mood for a bit of masochism? Take a listen to what scientists say is the harshest sound on Earth. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121011/scientists-pinpoint-the-harshest-sound-the-world-audio