Misophonia marked by excess activity in structure involved in emotion
©2013 Luca Tringali/istockphoto
The sound of someone slurping coffee or crunching an apple can be mildly annoying — but it leaves some people seething. These people aren’t imagining their distress, new research suggests. Anger and anxiety in response to everyday sounds of eating, drinking and breathing come from increased activity in parts of the brain that process and regulate emotions, scientists report February 2 in Current Biology.
People with this condition, called misophonia, are often dismissed as just overly sensitive, says Jennifer Jo Brout, a clinical psychologist not involved with the study. “This really confirms that it’s neurologically based,” says Brout, founder of the Sensory Processing and Emotion Regulation Program at Duke University Medical Center.
Researchers played sounds to 20 people with misophonia and 22 people without. Some sounds were neutral, such as rain