Why Are Certain Sounds Scary?

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.

05:47

from It's Okay To Be Smart

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

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

  • 2

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

  • 3

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

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Sound

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