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janbb's avatar

Why is the sound of someone else munching chips really annoying?

Asked by janbb (58035points) May 9th, 2011

OK. This is a serious question and I believe the roots are to be found in evolutionary biology. Through observation and experiment, I have determined that having someone else in the house – say a husband for example – munching on potato chips is really annoying. You wanted those chips, you knew they were there, you were saving them for a dry season – and someone else is eating them up. Is this the reason it is so annoying or is there something else going on? Help me out here.

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24 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

It isn’t, at least to me. Well, I mean, it is in that they’re munching on chips and I’m not, but it’s not the sound that bugs me, but that I’m not getting in on these chips.

thorninmud's avatar

Simple. It’s the exact same sound that a cave bear’s footsteps in the forest debris made as it stalked our ancestors millenia ago. Those who liked the sound and moved closer to investigate were removed from the gene pool. Those who abhorred the sound ran screaming away and lived to pass the trait on to us.

everephebe's avatar

I don’t like my own munching noise. I dislike eating in front of people when it’s really quiet. There are loads of little mouth noises that annoy me though, swallowing is pretty high up there.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

It is the sound that annoys me – not that I want the chips or that I am begrudging someone else having them. It is just an obnoxious sound.

ucme's avatar

I don’t know that it is, but I was reminded of this clip from The Sunshine Boys & that’s always a good thing.

janbb's avatar

@ucme That is one of my favorite films.

jasonwiese55's avatar

@thorninmud Also, it is the sound of our own feet crunching leaves, so our early ancestors who went about crunching scare away all of the edible creatures in the vicinity. They then starved and removed themselves from the gene pool.

The Darwin Awards have been going on for a while.

Blackberry's avatar

It only annoys me when people eat crunchy things while talking with the food in their mouth (well any food in their mouth while talking, but chips make it especially annoying). Even if someone you didn’t know had the chips, it’s still annoying, but I don’t know why the actual sound is annoying.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Maybe the chip didn’t have dip?

ucme's avatar

@janbb Mine too…....ENTER!!!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

For me personally, the sound is annoying because no matter how tightly your mouth is closed, when you chew chips it sounds like you’re smacking your food. It’s the same with crunchy carrots and with nuts.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Its annoying to me because it makes me hungry.

flutherother's avatar

It is civilised to eat together. I think this goes back to pre historic times. Eating in front of others who are not eating, especially in a noisy or showy way, stirs up primitive feelings from before the dawn of history when food was scarce.

Pandora's avatar

First thought is usually, hey your eating those to fast. Leave some for me you greed bastard. Otherwise the noise doesn’t really bother me unless I’m watching a program and there are whisper scenes and the munching is drowning them out.

janbb's avatar

He finished the whole effing bag last night!

marinelife's avatar

@janbb You are correct. it is the sound of disappearing snack food that you had been counting on that causes the annoyance.

chyna's avatar

Note to self: Take chips off grocery list for my upcoming trip.

janbb's avatar

@chyna You can bring them just don’t eat them all!

ddude1116's avatar

I don’t find the sound of chips annoying, but I can’t stand the sound of people eating almonds…

Jeruba's avatar

Munching chips, nuts, crackers, anything that makes an intermittent chomping or popping sound gets on my nerves. It has nothing to do with coveting the item (for me). My husband often munches on things that I find unappetizing, such as cashews or macadamia nuts, and I still want to close the two doors in between us to shut out the noise. I used to work in an office where half the people went on a watermelon seed crunching fest every afternoon, and I thought it would drive me nuts (haha).

Maybe it’s how much it makes me aware of activity inside their mouths, and I don’t want to think about it? I also don’t like to have people tell me about their dental work. No, I think there’s also something about the sound itself, and it is almost a visceral aversion. (Does it remind my ancient primitive memory of a predator crunching bones from much too close by? Or is it my general unease with any intermittent noise, which is difficult to tune out because of the irrregular intervals?)

So—why is it different when we’re all munching them together at the same table? I have no idea.

bobbinhood's avatar

I really like that sound. Does that mean I’m not human? Now I’m worried… Thanks @janbb

Hibernate's avatar

I do not find that sound annoying. [ but i really get a bit hungry so I go and ask them for some .. even if i don’t really know them ]

XYZZYtja's avatar

I hate it so much when someone is: munching chips, or any other sound that abstracts me from what I am doing. My mom recently found out what she can do with a computer (facebook etc) but she doesnt know where all the buttons are on the keyboard… That means that she searches a character on the keyboard, and when she found it she presses it so hard, allmost like a old typewriter… Believe me, it doesnt annoy me at first, but after a while you’ve heard it that much, that you keep hearing it! And you wont even be able to find a distraction for the sound. It also annoys me like hell, if someone is eating chips incase there would not be sound, but they do so with their mouth open. With the lame excuse that they need to breath while eating… Cmon?! You have a nose for christ sake. okay, if the food is hot, I can understand that you eat with you mouth open.

Hibernate's avatar

Some eat with the mouth open to breath because they can’t on the nose [ people with allergies can’t breath with their nose ] ^^

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