Fantastic broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on the sound of fear.
A door creaks, footsteps echo, someone’s breathing – and we are terrified. But why? Sean Street investigates the psychology of fear, so potently sensitive to sound.
He hears from musician and writer David Toop and film-maker Chu-Li Shrewring how sounds trigger fear and the way this inspires them. The neuro-scientist Sophie Scott explains how our brains process terror.
Context is important: anomalous noises, disembodied voices and sounds whose origins are mysterious – all these frighten us. David Hendy reveals that, in its early day, radio itself was alarming. Louis Niebur, author of a book on the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, reveals how in the 1950s, the advent of electronic sounds allowed programme-makers to use sounds that frightened people because they didn’t know what made the noises. Sound researcher Marcus Leadley explains how this triggers a state called schizophonia.