The sound of fingernails scratching a chalkboard is one of the most difficult sounds to listen to. This “screech” sound gives the sensation of your soul being ripped to shreds and invokes great discomfort. Why is this?
Professor Randolph Blake of Vanderbilt Center, USA, observed that this sound is very similar to the scream chimpanzees and macaque monkeys make when they see a predator. According to other researches on this phenomenon, many species of monkeys also hate this sound greatly. Blake used these facts to hypothesise that as our primitive ancestors used this sound to alert an enemy approaching, it has been programmed into our primitive brain to trigger a negative response. Also, physically this sound amplifies in our ears at a certain frequency to cause intense pain. The pain and our basic instincts combine to generate such an unpleasant feeling.