04 Feb The Science Behind Earworms
It happens when you least suspect it.
Your child is a singing a song she learned at school. All of sudden you’re singing the song too, first with her and then through the rest of the day.
You are bored at work. Then, you start singing a tune you don’t even like but you cannot stop singing it!
The phenomenon, often called having an earworm (or scientifically known as involuntary musical imagery), is a real thing that affects up to 92 percent of people at least once a week. Online news site Mashable decided to delve into the subject and figure out the causes earworms and how to get rid of them.
- As predicted, repeated exposure to a song will increase your chances of it being an earworm but the song still needs a trigger. One trigger could be your memory. Say, for instance, you sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at a baseball game. The next time you step foot in the stadium you start humming the tune. Another trigger could be visual. As Mashable writes: “You see a kid with a red balloon, and maybe right that moment, maybe an hour later, maybe even the next day 99 Red Balloons is rattling around your skull.”
- Also, never underestimate your brain’s need to be entertained. If you are doing something boring and repetitive, your brain may just try to liven things up by implanting an earworm.
- Stimulate your mind with another activity.
- Do a form of musical exorcism. Listen to the song in its entireity — even if you don’t like it — and and begin singing along to give your brain the closure it needs.
- Find another song to replace your earworm. However, this is a tricky process because you don’t want to have the replacement song become your earworm.
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