Can people ID infectious disease by cough and sneeze sounds?
This is scientific Americans. Sixty seconds science I'm Karen Hopkins. The supermarket trying to choose a right tomato when behind you, you hear. If you're like most people, you probably hold your breath. Tighten your mask an hope. You don't catch whatever patient zero is spraying all over the fresh produce, and if you're like most people chances are you're overreacting? Because a new study shows that we're not very skilled when it comes to diagnosing infectiousness based on the sound of a cough or sneeze. The work is in the proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences. Previous studies have shown that folks can tell when someone's sick based on how they look, or in some cases how they smell, so it's only natural to wonder whether the same would hold true for an assessment with our ears, so researchers asked volunteers to listen to audio clips of people, hacking and sneezing half of the cost and sneezes were produced by people with an infectious illness like flu or the common cold in. In half were produced by benign causes like eating too much cinnamon, all at once or sticking q tip of their noses Nicholas lack a Grad student in social psychology at the University of Michigan. We clipped these sounds from youtube videos in which people told their audience that they were sick. Many reported having been diagnosed by medical professional. All this said we could not directly confirm whether people in our sound clips were infectious. Infectious or not, and what he found across four studies of over six hundred participants in total on average people guest, four out of ten sounds correctly, which is consistent with random guessing in other words, they weren't very good at judging whether the sounds were infected, but being bad judges didn't dampen their confidence when asked how sure they were about their guesses on a scale of one to nine participants reported an average certainty. Certainty of seven, interestingly, we didn't find any evidence that people who were more certain about their guesses were any more or less likely to guess correctly, so what made them so sure that certain sounds warped sure signs of disease well, the cities they figured made noises that seemed the most gross, the more disgusting. They perceived a sound, the more likely they were to judge it infectious, even if the sound wasn't infectious, so. Might be deemed more contagious than. Depending on your own personal nasty ometer, all that's to say even if it seems like you can tell whether a cough or sneeze is infectious based on how disgusting it sound that feeling has the potential to mislead you in other words. You can't judge a book by its cover.