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Mimicry in misophonia: A large-scale survey of prevalence and relationship with trigger sounds
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  • Paris Arizona Ash,
  • Ester Benzaquén,
  • Phillip Gander E,
  • Joel Isaac Berger,
  • Sukhbinder Kumar
Paris Arizona Ash
University of Sunderland
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Ester Benzaquén
Newcastle University
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Phillip Gander E
The University of Iowa Department of Radiology
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Joel Isaac Berger
The University of Iowa Department of Neurosurgery
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Sukhbinder Kumar
The University of Iowa Department of Neurosurgery

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Background Misophonia is often characterized by excessive negative emotional responses, including anger and anxiety, to “trigger sounds” which are typically day-to-day sounds, such as those generated from people eating. Misophonia (literally ‘hatred of sounds’) has commonly been understood within an auditory processing framework where sounds cause distress due to aberrant processing in the auditory and emotional systems of the brain. However, recent evidence from brain imaging shows involvement of the motor system while listening to trigger sounds suggesting that the perception of an action (e.g., mouth movement) produced by a trigger person, not the sound per se, drives distress in misophonia. Observation or listening to sounds of another’s actions are known to prompt automatic mimicry/imitations. Apart from anecdotal evidence and a few case studies, a relationship between mimicry and misophonia has not been evaluated. Method We addressed this ‘gap’ by collecting data on misophonia symptoms and mimicry behaviour using online questionnaires from 676 participants. Results The analysis shows, (i) the tendency to mimic varies in direct proportion to misophonia severity assessed using a self-reported questionnaire, (ii) compared to other human and environmental sounds, trigger sounds of eating and chewing are more likely to trigger mimicking, and (iii) the act of mimicking provides relief from distress to most people with misophonia. Conclusion Mimicry is widely prevalent in misophonia and is elicited by the most common trigger sounds of eating. The data provides support to the model that misophonia is not a disorder of sound-processing but rather its basis lies in social perception.
10 Feb 2023Submitted to Journal of Clinical Psychology
10 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
10 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
04 Mar 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Mar 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 May 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major
31 Jul 20231st Revision Received
01 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
01 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
01 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Aug 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
06 Sep 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
09 Sep 20232nd Revision Received
11 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
11 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
30 Sep 2023Editorial Decision: Accept