Why Are Certain Sounds Scary?

Nonlinear sounds are typified by abrupt changes in frequency, discordant harmonies, and a tendency to go outside the normal range of a voice or instrument. Composers seem to gravitate towards them in horror films; animals make them when they are alarmed or afraid.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Fear is an instinctual response that helped our ancestors to survive and reproduce. 01:22

  2. Your sense of hearing is never truly shut off, even when you're asleep. 02:33

  3. Scary movies tend to contain more nonlinear sounds, such as rapid frequency jumps and nonstandard harmonies. 03:46

Written by Curiosity Staff October 30, 2014