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Old 10-29-2003, 09:39 AM   #1
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Why songs get stuck in your head

I thought this might be interesting to all my fellow B&Cers. I know I have this problem a LOT. Lately I've been waking up with "The Remedy" by Jason Mraz running through my head.

Here's the original link:
http://channels.netscape.com/ns/atpl...ngs/stucksongs

Top 3 Songs That Get Stuck In Your Head
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
"Baby Back Ribs" jingle from Chili's Restaurant
"Who Let the Dogs Out?"
Call it the playlist from hell. But the real No. 1 song that gets stuck in our heads is different for each of us, according to University of Cincinnati marketing professor James Kellaris. He's done so much research on this odd and annoying phenomenon that he has coined a term for it: earworm.

He told The Associated Press that earworm is unexpected and insidious. It might be the first song you hear on the clock radio that wakes you up. It could come from an elevator or the CD playing in the cubicle next to yours. "There are certain tunes that we would describe as catchy that are more likely to become one, but just about anything can become an earworm," he told AP. His personal earworm is Byzantine chants, which he suspects has something to do with his wife's job as a church choir director.

Stuck songs have these traits in common:

They are relatively simple.
They are repetitive.
They contain an element that surprises the listener, such as an interrupted pattern or something that violates expectations of what comes next.
The most common culprits are songs with lyrics.
They stay stuck in our heads for a few hours on average.
There is no cure, but these treatments sometimes will work to rid your brain of the repetitive earworm:

Don't worry about it. (If you take this advice, just don't listen to Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" or you're sure to trade one stuck song for another.)
Listen to different music.
Distract yourself with another activity.
Try singing the entire song--and not just the snippet that's stuck in your head--even if you can't quite remember all the lyrics.
If that doesn't work, go find the forgotten lyrics. Kellaris theorizes earworm is the brain's attempt to resolve missing information. By finding out the complete lyrics to a song, you might be able to "unstick" it.
Erase the offending song by singing the theme from "Gilligan's Island." (We have no idea why this would work, but if you're desperate...)
There's even a folklore cure: Chew on cinnamon sticks.
Fun facts about earworm:

Women experience more irritation and frustration than men do from earworms.
People who are constantly exposed to music suffer from it more frequently.
There may be a connection between earworms and a person's level of neurosis. (Uh oh.)
The research was presented at the Society for Consumer Psychology.
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Old 10-29-2003, 09:41 AM   #2
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Old 10-29-2003, 09:43 AM   #3
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I don't think I've ecer had Who Let the Dogs Out stuck in my head though
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Old 10-29-2003, 09:53 AM   #4
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Oh man!! I have this problem all the time!!

Luckily enough for me, it's usually because I REALLY REALLY like the song. I like it so much I have to memorize it completely. To get rid of it I have to play it repeatedly until I can sing all the lyrics, then it goes away. Yes I'm neurotic

Today's earworm: REM "Bad Day"

The only time it really bothers me is if I can't sleep and it's on continuous loop in my head. I think it's just because I love music so much
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Old 10-29-2003, 11:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
People who are constantly exposed to music suffer from it more frequently.
that's like saying people who drive in cars are 10 times more likely to get in a car accident than people who don't drive in cars.
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Old 10-29-2003, 04:38 PM   #6
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Today, the earworm song at our office was Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water, complete with Beavis & Butthead cues.
And yes, we did go as far as to look up the full lyrics on Google.



Marty
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Old 10-29-2003, 04:59 PM   #7
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i want to know why i've got two bad religion songs ('entropy' and 'the answer') stuck in my head if i haven't heard either of these songs in a god two months.

not only that, i want to know how both of them got stuck at once.
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Old 10-29-2003, 10:04 PM   #8
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I've never had any of those songs in my head (I actually don't mind "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" personally ...).

But the reasons as to why the songs that I have had stuck in my head make sense.

I haven't had any songs stuck in my head today, though.

Angela
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Old 10-29-2003, 10:18 PM   #9
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i must be batshit insane then! my brain is like a jukebox, i almost always have a song stuck in my head. i can't think of any off the top of my head, but a repeat offender is kosheen's "hungry," cuz food network plays it all the damn time!
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Old 10-30-2003, 04:55 AM   #10
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it's a brainwashing conspiracy.
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Old 10-30-2003, 05:03 AM   #11
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Anything Outkast is earworm material to me.

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Old 10-30-2003, 03:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
I've never had any of those songs in my head (I actually don't mind "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" personally ...).
I prefer the Timone & Pumba version (from The Lion King).
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Old 10-30-2003, 06:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Popmartijn
I prefer the Timone & Pumba version (from The Lion King).
.

Angela
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Old 10-31-2003, 11:24 AM   #14
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I curse you all with Maybe it's Maybelline in your head today.

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Old 10-31-2003, 01:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
I curse you all with Maybe it's Maybelline in your head today.

.

Damn you!

Well, then, I curse you with Toni Basil's "Mickey" in your head today.

.

Interesting...now I have a mix of "Mickey", the Maybelline song, and B-52's "Channel Z" in my head......

Angela
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