What’s happening when a displeasing sound causes us to squirm?

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What’s happening when a displeasing sound causes us to squirm?

In: Biology

Humans, when sensing unpleasant things like sounds or sights or emotions, have a lot of coping mechanisms to try and force the brain to focus on something else by overwhelming the senses. When someone is embarrassed, or frustrated, or scared, or seeing or hearing something that is overwhelming them emotionally, they will often rub their head or hold their face or bounce around or making random noises. These are all an attempt to overwhelm the brain with nonsense information to try and overpower the unpleasant sensory information, hoping that it will become less noticeable or “lost in the noise”, so to speak.

Certain tones and sounds (such as nails on a chalkboard) are highly displeasing to us because the sound frequency is the similar to a high-pitch shrill scream, such as made by a creature in great distress.

You squirm because your body instinctively wants to respond to this as a scream and react in some form.