When matched up against a range of other annoying sounds, whining reigned victorious as the most distracting.
A new study published in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology found that participants made more mistakes while doing subtraction problems if they were listening to whining.
Subjects were also asked to do subtraction while enduring infant crying, regular speech, silence, a high-pitched table saw and “motherese,” or exaggerated baby talk. Researchers found that "participants were most distracted by whines, followed by infant cries and motherese."
The research also notes that humans are not the only mammals who produce and respond to these "attachment vocalizations."
Study co-author Rosemarie Sokol Chang told "Today" that the evolutionary point of whining may be that it's difficult to ignore.
“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.”