Which songs get stuck in your head

Why the songs are stuck in your head & lpar; and how to stop it & rpar;

Whether you heard "Call Me Maybe," ", Let the Dogs Out," "Mickey" or something equally contagious, at one time or another, you've probably had a fragment of a catchy (or disgusting) voice stuck in your head.

Where do sticky songs come from?

Because of the involuntary nature of songs stuck in people's minds, it is known to be difficult to study. As such, the exact mechanism in the brain that causes this phenomenon is not fully understood. Some scholars, at a higher level of humanity, see ancient practices of passing on knowledge through song as a possible source for this tendency.

For most of the 200,000 year evolution of modern man, facts, history processes and other information are transmitted and remembered through spoken and sung words. This has led some scientists to suggest that the human brain has become hardwired to code, speak and chant information and call back when requested. Believed that even today many still find it easier to memorize something that a rhyme or rhythm has been added.

Whether we were already severely prone to this type of thing or it has been a relatively recent development in human history, the hard-wired brain theory builds on the fact that music is "multisensory" and claims that while the notes and Texts are saved, the feelings and thoughts that the music also triggers are saved along with it. Then when this feeling or idea is remembered, it sometimes brings a catchy part of the song back up later, in the so-called "involuntary memory."

From here, our brains seem hardwired to finish what they start with the parts of the songs. In fact, when researchers at Dartmouth played small snippets of well-known songs to explore subjects, they found that the auditory cortex of the brain continued the song in the subjects' heads even after the music stopped. It is perhaps not surprising from this that the more you listen to a song, the more likely it is, at some point, that it will stick in the brain. In addition, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder have been shown to be more prone to getting songs stuck in their heads.

That is, after the Procedure from the 10th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, over 90% of us get a sticky song (aka an "earwig") at least once a week. Other estimates suggest that about 98% of people experience sticky songs at one point or another.


Scientists have identified two main sparks that are widely used to trigger a catchy tune.


As mentioned earlier, exposure is perhaps the most common reason a song fragment in your pear lodges. This includes both how recently you heard a song and how many times it was repeated. Given that the vast majority of the time we listen to music we've heard something we've heard before, the benefits of getting a catchy tune are pretty good.

Two recent examples of dubbed, popular tunes that can easily get stuck in your head are Robin Thicke's "Blurry Lines" and "Let It Go" by Frozen.


Sometimes some aspect of your surroundings will trigger a catchy tune, including people, rhythms, situations, words, and sounds. For example, while doing housework, songs like Rose Royce "Car Wash", Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry", and Fishbones "Housework" can play in your head. Likewise, more indirect associations can develop in how something is going on around you when you are listening to a song, causing your brain to differently associate the song with external factors. Later, when you're in the same environment, your brain can dredge on the song and repeat the most memorable part of it over and over in your head.


There are certain characteristics, of songs and people, that make catching a sticky song in your head much more likely.


The melodies that are more likely to cause catchy tunes:

Notes with longer durations but smaller pitch intervals tend to have ... [which are also the] two main features that make singing songs easier, even for the musically untrained ..... Basically a catchy tune is your brain singing ....

Examples of these belong to the J. Geils band "Centerfold", the B-52's "Love Shack", and Lady Gaga's "Pokerface."

From people

Music lovers

At least one study found a strong link between people who "placed a great deal of emphasis on music" and the incidence, duration, and irritation from an earwig. [1] This lends itself to the "exaggerated" trigger with music lovers simply listening more often than most music can.

Compulsive personality

As mentioned earlier, people who tend to be more obsessive (but not clinically neurotic) are more likely to become catchy tunes. They also often report feeling like they have less control over the phenomenon. In addition, studies have shown that for some people, certain drugs used to treat OCD can reduce the frequency of a song being stuck in the head.

Tired, stressed, or idle

Sticky songs prey on idle, tired and stressed out when defenses are low and the brain isn't too busy for a catchy tune to grab. That's exactly what happened to the injured climber who was stuck on a glacier and fearing he might die, Boney M couldn't escape "Brown Girl in the Ring"


There are some tricks you can try to help drive sticky songs away.

Think of another song

In a recent UK study, one of the most popular treatments for the catchy tune was noted: fighting a fire with fire (and perhaps even a "fire") by thinking of a different tune. Songs performed by the participants included the most popular antidote "God Save The Queen," Led Zeppelin "Kashmir" and "Karma Chameleon" Culture Club. With this last one I wonder if the cure isn't worse than the disease ...

Think of other things

An expert recommends killing an earwig "with your words". She finds that simply by speaking to someone else, or thinking through the words of a crossword puzzle, the lyrics of the song will be displaced with new lexemes.

Others say anything absorbent will work: "the key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge .... When you are cognitively active, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head."

Listen to the damn song

If all else fails, you may have to try to carry the beast out by listening to the entire song rather than just the repetitive clipping through your head.

Bonus facts:

  • The sticky song phenomenon is global, and in France, it is sometimes mentioned Musique Ent√™tante (persistent music), in Italy, Canzone Tormentone (agonizing songs) and in Germany, Catchy tune.
  • Earworms in front of the stand of modern recording equipment. In fact, among other famous historical figures who have mentioned it, Mark Twain published a story in 1876 about "a damningly catchy jingle that got stuck on mental repetition" a year before Thomas Edison invented his turntable.

If you liked this article, you might also like:

  • Much less family-friendly works by Mozart
  • The truth about Mozart and your brain
  • The real name of the song commonly referred to as "Teenage Wasteland"
  • Why do British singers lose their accents while singing
  • Was Beethoven really deaf when he wrote his music?

Melissawritesfor the popular interesting fact website TodayIFoundOut.com. To subscribe today I found OUt "Know Daily" newsletter, please click here or like them on Facebook here. You can also check them out on YouTube here.

This post has been republished with the kind permission of TodayIFoundOut.com.Image by Masha Krasnova-Shabaeva under a Creative Commons license.

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