Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us

May 12, 2011

For just about everyone, there is something out there that is annoying. How is it that the littlest things, such as your coworker tapping her foot or your husband picking at his teeth, can just about drive us crazy? NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and Science Friday’s Flora Lichtman must have been really annoyed at something—because they set out to write a book just to answer this question. In their book <i>Annoying</i>, they even spell out, step-by-step, how to annoy like you’ve never annoyed before (the key is to make the annoyance “unpredictable, unpleasant, and of uncertain duration”). Are you annoyed at not knowing why you’re annoyed? Will understanding the science of annoyance help you overcome that which irks you? Patt sits down with Joe Palca to see about debugging that which bugs.

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