Undergraduate Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-3-2020




Dr. Blake Butler


Misophonia is an under-recognized neuropsychological condition involving a severe sensitivity towards specific sounds called triggers. The aim of this study was to investigate how activity in the anterior insular cortex (AIC) differed with varying levels of sound sensitivity (SS); misophonia being the most severe. Data was collected from university undergraduates/young adults (N = 31). Participants completed an online survey to assess their misophonia severity and symptoms. A case study was conducted on some of the students (N = 4) to assess misophonia at a neurological level. In addition to experiencing a heightened sensitivity to sounds, the misophonia group reported having more primary triggers. Disgust, anger and anxiety were experienced more frequently in the misophonia group in response to a trigger. The participant with misophonia demonstrated heightened activity in the AIC in response to a trigger, but unexpectedly this activity did not exceed the activity elicited in the no SS participants. Differences in the misophonic reaction were found amongst varying levels of SS, but more participants are needed before conclusions can be made about whether or not these differences have a neurological basis.