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Hate hearing a recording of your own speaking voice? Try listening to a recording of yourself singing karaoke without backing music — and then having your sleep disrupted by scientists.

That was, in essence, the methodology used by a group of Finnish scientists whose new study in the eNeuro journal described using karaoke as a tool for the induction of stressful memories.

To be clear, karaoke itself wasn't the focal point of the study. Rather, the scientists from the SleepWell program at Finland's University of Helsinki wanted to see whether emotional stress was exacerbated during so-called "rapid eye movement" (REM) sleep as compared to slow wave sleep (SWS), which is deeper and more relaxing.

While REM is known to play a role in emotional processing, little is understood about exactly how it works. It's during REM sleep that we do our most vivid and easily-recallable dreaming, and the Finnish scientists at the SleepWell center decided to see whether stress recall may be heightened during that part of the sleep cycle, too.

After being instructed to sleep normally for three days, the 29 study participants — roughly half and half men and women between the ages of 19 and 36 — were brought into the lab and had their vocals recorded while belting out Abba's "Dancing Queen." The subjects went about the rest of their days until 9 pm, when they returned for the "memory encoding" task — which included, horrifyingly, hearing their singing played back at them with no backing track.

After that ordeal, the participants slept in the lab's sleep study rooms between 11 pm and 7 am, with half of the group being woken intermittently by an attendant during REM sleep and the other half being woken during slow-wave sleep.

The next morning, participants were then subjected to a battery of biofeedback and self-reporting tests. And the following day, they were brought back in to do some more tests to gauge their level of emotional distress.

As the scientists explain in their study, the group whose SWS was disrupted but whose REM sleep was left intact had heightened stress and shame responses the mornings after their karaoke debacles, while those who were interrupted during REM didn't have the same amount of distress.

Translation: processing the memory of hearing oneself singing off-key during uninterrupted REM sleep makes it all the more embarrassing the next day.

There could, of course, be several factors that could cloud the results of the study. For one, the biggest religion in Finland is evangelical Lutheranism, which like most other forms of Christianity is pretty huge on shame, and this study being conducted in a less guilt-oriented culture — such as Japan, where karaoke hails from — could yield different results. For another, the very fact that these experiments took place in a lab could contribute to the way participants felt about the situation, doubling down on the embarrassment of it all.

Overall, however, a devilish way to go about inducing embarrassment in test subjects that isn't likely to be permanently scarring — unless, of course, a subject's voice was particularly bad.

More on sad psychology: Study: Mid-Life Conspiracy Theorists Are Indeed Lonely Weirdos

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