Noisy sounds like gum chewing, popcorn crackling, loud breathing, pen clicking, and pencil tapping could be annoying to anyone. That’s normal. What’s not normal is you hating a specific sound that triggers your negative emotional response. And studies say that it is a sign of a brain abnormality called misophonia.
Misophonia is defined as the hatred of sound. However, the hate we are talking about here doesn’t merely mean you not liking it or simply put, you despise it.
People with misophonia experience emotion and health symptoms upon hearing sound triggers. The most common among these sounds is noisy chewing.
In a recent report titled “The Brain Basis for Misophonia,” researchers discussed the brain abnormality in detail. In the study, it was revealed that the brain activity of people with misophonia changes when hearing triggers.
Misophonia And How It Affects Brain Functions
A team of researchers investigated how misophonia affects how a human brain functions with the help of a functional and structural MRI. The findings showed that an increase in the levels of activity and connectivity happening between the “salience network” of the brain.
The “salience network” is a web of brain regions responsible for selecting the stimuli that deserve attention. It also coordinates the brain’s neural resources as a response to the detected behavioral stimuli.
Having said that, increased activity in the “salience network” levels up the brain’s processing of external stimuli. The stimuli being emotions specifically as the advanced connectivity happens in the anterior insular cortex (AIC). AIC is responsible for our emotional feelings such as love, anger, fear, and sadness.
Additionally, the scientists found that a misophonic individual’s heart rate and galvanic skin responses are also increased during a trigger attack. This implies that people suffering from a trigger have heightened physical arousal.
In conclusion, the researchers suggest that misophonia is an abnormal activation and connectivity of the “salience network’s” AIC. Thus, making it a brain abnormality.
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