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Sound Designer, Freelance / Self-employed -Media/Entertaiment

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Why is loudness so attractive?

Hello my fellow TEDians.

I am currently writing a short paper on the very controversial "loudness wars" in the media, particularly the games industry and I would like to hear others people's opinions on a simple question.

"Why is loudness so attractive?"

As I've been researching, all the evidence seems to point towards companies boosting the levels in their commercials, music or film by using hyper-compression to basically grab peoples attention.

But I haven't been able to find a good explanation on why loudness is so attractive? Is it just because it stands out? Or is there a acoustical/psychoacoustical/scientific phenomena which the reason why its so popular?

If so, what is the line between attractive and unbearable/dangerous?

Any analysis from a scientific, theoretical or even spiritual standpoint would be great!

All the best!


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    Jul 11 2012: A loud noise triggers a build in animalistic response. Make one in front of any animal, and they will instantly tense up and look at the source. Same with humans. It's not attractive, it's scary, and frustrating, but it catches your attention. They don't care how you feel, just that you feel.
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      Jul 11 2012: Good points David. In addition to how we feel, it is name recognition, and it doesn't matter to some folks (advertisers, political ads, etc. ) how that name recognition gets in your brain. The louder the better as far as inprinting it in our brains!

      You ask for scientific, theoretical or even spiritual standpoint. This may be scientific/ medical.
      Because of a near fatal head injury, I have an oversensitivity to light and sound. I did not enjoy loud sounds PRIOR to the injury, and even less now! I do not find it at all attractive.,,,in fact, it feels intrusive.
      • Jul 15 2012: Very good points here.

        I like the thought that it is our primal nature to want attention and be heard and the only way to do so is to be louder than everyone else. It's sad to say that judging by our modern day "A-LIST CELEBS!", that is certainly the case, as they have the biggest mouths and yet the smallest brains (Kerri Katona, Paris Hilton etc)

        Intrusive is also in conjecture with the argument, it is supposed to be intrusive to get your attention, and when things grab your attention, it is arguably attractive. I see what you are saying about intrusive being annoying, because I agree that adverts are constantly bombarding us with traffic to our brains and it's frustrating.

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