Why screams are terrifying

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This is why I want one of these for Halloween…


Thought. Use fMRI for sensing of amygdala activation. Use it as a feedback for a computer to generate the scariest sound. Weaponize it.

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For me, screams aren’t one sixty-fourth as painful or incapacitating as:

  1. Switching noise from electronics.

  2. Brake squeal.

  3. Ballast noise from old flourescents.

  4. Deer alarms.

  5. Backup beepers, which are worse than a burst appendix.

  6. Check-out devices.

  7. Sirens, which are paralyzing.

For some people, maybe.

Definitely not for everyone.

Next you’ll tell me that I’m not supposed to enjoy them,




Sure, and opium puts you to sleep because it has a dormitive quality.


Another thing which, after over-application by Hollywood, inoculates us against concern.

I already consider screams in TV shows and films as unrealistic over-acting, as things people don’t do at all so readily.

Maybe I’m just a tin-eared philistine; but how about using TCMS to activate the amygdala? The only thing better than scary stimuli is apparently-acausal terror!

So basically the Fisher likes the piquancy fear hormones give? That’s what they wake me up at 4AM for?

That’s actually a pretty good idea!

Nothing much on the Net about actual fear stimulation, though, at least after a brief search.

These suck, though they tend to latch on some “reason”. Blessed be benzodiazepins.

The amygdalae are buried within the temporal lobes, though. Not cortical enough to be accessible to TCMS.

Deep TCMS goes up to 6 cm. That could be perhaps enough.

I really want to know how accustomed we can get. We’re capable of associating a pleasant sound with something unpleasant and learning not to fear unpleasant sounds. Psychology can undermine instinct pretty thoroughly.

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“Why are screams so frightening?”

Because screams were evolved as an emergency broadcast system.


Well, there goes non-invasive. Somebody page Dr. Black and Dr. Decker; we need to go inside.

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