Got a song stuck in your head?

That song you can’t get out of your head? It’s called an earworm. And scientists say some (musicians, women and the anxious) are more susceptible to them.

From today’s New York Times Science section Q and A:

How a melody becomes an earworm, however, is unclear. A 2001 survey by James J. Kellaris of the University of Cincinnati, a consumer psychologist, found that “music characterized by simplicity, repetitiveness and incongruity with listeners’ expectations is most likely to become ‘stuck.’ ”

According to Dr. Kellaris, 98% of us will experience a sticky tune. And the cure? Belt it out:

After further research, Dr. Kellaris theorized that one way to scratch what he called a “cognitive itch” is to sing the mental tune aloud.

More info, including links to studies of musical perception, is on the Times web site.

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One Response to “Got a song stuck in your head?”

  1. Music on the brain « Thoughts from Be Amazing Learning Says:

    […] extensively in the research. We’ve previously posted on the topic (and have also posted on why it’s so hard to shake a song that’s stuck in your head, which isn’t really as academically important, but is […]

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