Why do Songs get stuck in our Heads?

June 21, 2018
Why do you find yourself humming to the latest hit by Ed Sheeran? Or to any popular song you hear on the radio? Often times you don't realize you've just sang out two-three lines or even more in front of your co-workers or friends. Do you find any song that you hate get stuck in your head?

'Earworm' is the term to define a catchy song or tune that runs continually through someone's mind. When we listen to a song, it triggers a part of the brain called the auditory cortex. So when you hear a familiar part of a song, the auditory cortex helps in to fill in the rest, i.e. . it compels you to sing or hum in the rest of the song unknowingly or knowingly.
Studies have shown that all songs doesn't necessarily become an earworm. If a song structure varies a lot and has a complex set of melodies it might be hard to stick in your head. A simple song structure, with a catchy tune and a unique or specially an upbeat tempo are usually the ones to be earworms.

Musicians have songs stuck in their heads more frequently than non-musicians. The brain gloms on to recent and frequently heard songs. A 2013 study in the journal Psychology of Music, found that the more familiar the song, the more likely it was to become an earworm and  also a distraction from real life.  Don't believe that only annoying songs will become an earworm because studies have shown that only one third of earworms are unpleasant.

According to 2010 research, people are more likely to pick up an earworm when they are doing something routine, like jogging or chores. So if you hear 'your hated song' anywhere,  know why it's stuck in your head. Trying to eliminate a song is like trying to suppress your thoughts. The more you try, the more it refuses to go. 

The most frequently named earworms in a study were:

1. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
2. “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue
3. “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
4. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye
5. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
6. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry
7. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
8. “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga
9. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga

If you're stuck with a song and its driving you nuts, the only way to get over it is listening to the song over and over again in a loop or chew a gum.  

Post Written by -  Adap Immanuel Teron

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