When someone who eats food is munching, it sounds quite unpleasant for most of the people. What is the reason for this?

  • $\begingroup$ Just to be clear. Are you talking specifically about eating with your mouth open? $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2014 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes and the sound you make with your mouth. $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2014 at 6:40
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not convinced this has anything to do with evolution. It's about manners. If you are raised in a home where people "munch" then you are raised to think it's normal. $\endgroup$
    – user6759
    Sep 19, 2014 at 20:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This question is too broad, mostly opinion-based, and culturally biased. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Dec 9, 2014 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ It sounds like you're referring to misophonia, which seems to be caused by overactive anterior insular cortex, 2017 research reports: bbc.com/news/health-38842561 Also, 23andMe claims that it might be in part genetic: shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/… $\endgroup$
    – Justas
    Jan 6, 2019 at 17:50

1 Answer 1


I have speculated that it arises from two cognitive biases — but pardon that I will present my conjecture without citations. (This isn't my focal area)

  1. our bias for music shows we dis-prefer arhythmic noises.
  2. the arhythmic noise is unpredictable.

I think there may also be dissonance between a sympathetic response (to hunger at food odors and others' savoring of flavors), against a conscious choice not to be eating at that time. (only in the case where the person(s) experience misophonia are not also eating)

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it has to do with music and rhythm. I suspect any kind of munching rhythmic or non-rhythmic is equally disturbing to some people. And there is not "a bias for music", you are misusing the term. You could say there is pattern extraction of some kind but again this is not entirely relevant to munching which appears to have roots in cultural belief systems $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2014 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ Munching is rhythmic and highly predictable. $\endgroup$
    – jona
    Sep 19, 2014 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @jona the mechanics of mastication are not rhythmic. Snaps and pops occur randomly in respect to jaws-up or jaws-down. $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2014 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @LarryM. Ecological Psychology succinctly describes the arhythmic concept of stimulus (as a highest-value aberration within the perceptual field). Rhythmic and arhythmic stimulus would only be of equal value for organisms with 'lowered' (uniform) discrimination. So perhaps misophonia is correlated with increased auditory discrimination? $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2014 at 17:38

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