Scientists have presented more evidence that kids are trying to ruin your life. A new study found their high-pitched reports on who's looking at/touching/hitting them can totally disrupt your evening — particularly if you're planning to relax by doing some math problems.
It's possible that the annoyance applies to other activities as well, but psychologists at SUNY New Paltz focused on adults' ability to do subtraction problems. MSNBC reports that subjects were asked to complete the equations while listening to an infant crying, regular speech, whining, a table saw, silence, and "motherese," the highly irritating language parents use to express how cute their widdle punkin is. All the speech samples in the study were in a foreign language, so participants wouldn't be distracted by what the recordings said.
The researchers found that people made the most mistakes when listening to whining, and completed fewer problems with whining, crying, and baby talk in the background. Whether they were male or female, subjects were equally distracted.
Co-author Rosemarie Sokol Chang, a professor of psychology, says she believes whining has an evolutionary function. "It's telling you to tune in," she said. "Nobody wants to sit around and listen to a fire engine siren either, but if you hear the siren go off, it gets your attention. It has to be annoying like that, and it's the same with the whine." Okay, but if it has to be that irritating, can kids at least save the whine for dire situations? And no, reeeeeaaaaaaallly wanting Sparkle Lights Pink Princess Barbie is not an emergency.
Image via Katrina Brown/Shutterstock.