For a chef, the sound of slap, sip, and swallow is the highest form of flattery. But for people with a certain type of phobia, these same voices can be torturous. Brain scans are now helping scientists begin to understand why.
People with panophonia experience intense discomfort, annoyance, or disgust when they hear specific triggers. These may include chewing, swallowing, sipping, clearing your throat, coughing, and even hearing breathing. Researchers previously thought that this reaction may be caused by the brain’s overprocessing of certain sounds.However, now a new study is published inside Journal of Neuroscience Some forms of homophobia have been linked to enhanced “mirror” behaviors in the brain: those affected Feel pain when their brain behaves as if imitating Trigger mouth movements.
“This is the first breakthrough in the study of Phonophonia in 25 years,” said psychologist Jennifer J. Brout, the head of the International Phonophonia Research Network, but did not participate in the new research. .
A research team led by neuroscientist Sukhbinder Kumar at Newcastle University analyzed the brain activity of people with and without phobias while resting and listening to sounds. These include honophonia triggers (such as chewing), often unpleasant sounds (such as baby crying), and neutral sounds. The auditory cortex of the brain, which processes sound, responds similarly in subjects with and without homophobia. But in resting state and hearing tests, the auditory cortex of people with phobias showed a stronger connection with the brain regions that control the movement of the face, mouth, and throat. Kumar found that this connection became most active when participants with panophonia heard triggers specific to the condition.
“Just by listening to sounds, they activate the motor cortex more strongly. So in a sense, it’s as if they are doing it themselves,” Kumar said. Most people produce some mirror images when they witness the actions of others; researchers do not yet know why excessive mirror reactions can lead to such negative reactions, and hope to solve this problem in future studies. The study author wrote: “Possible situations include loss of control, invasion of personal space, or interference with current goals and actions.”
Fatima Husain, a professor of speech and hearing sciences at the University of Illinois, who was not involved in the study, said that potential therapies for Phonophonia can be built on the basis of new discoveries, by consulting patients to deal with unconscious movements that trigger sounds Reacting-not just responding to the sound themselves. She added that if this works, people should see reduced activity in the connection between the auditory and motor cortex.