Ever wondered why songs get stuck in your head? New research suggests that your brain size and shape may have something to do with why songs get stuck in your head and why some people experience this phenomena more than others.
A study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition found that the frequency with which people experienced earworms (another word for catchy music that gets stuck in someone's head) had to do with levels of thickness in different parts of the brain. Those who experienced earworms more frequently had thicker areas of the brain responsible for auditory perception, musical memory, and pitch memory. Researchers tested 44 people, about half female and half male, and had them fill out two surveys asking how often they experienced the earworms and related questions, and how often they listened to or wrote music. The participants were then put into an MRI scanner which took images of their brain to see if their responses lined up.
Researchers also found that people who perceived music to be a helpful part of their day were actually able to surpress the earworms, while people who were irritated by the music stuck in their head were unable to control them. These people also had a lot of grey matter in the parts of their brain where emotions are regulated.
Of course, not all songs are created equal, and studies show that about 74 percent of all songs that will get stuck in your head have lyrics. Some of the songs that are likely to get stuck in your head include:
1. Nursery Rhymes
2. Theme Songs To Your Favorite Shows
3. Songs From Your Teen Years
4. Songs Currently On the Radio
5. Probably All Pop Songs Ever
6. Songs From Movie Soundtracks
7. Your Favorite Beatle's Song
8. Songs That Irritate You
9. Anything By The Backstreet Boys
10. Songs That Are Often Referenced in Pop Culture
Just as there is a science to why earworms get INTO your head in the first place, there's a science behind getting them out. Trying to get rid of an earworm? Some studies show that chewing gum after listening to a catchy tune could interfere with your pitch memory and make imagining those tunes more difficult. Other studies say that doing a simple mental task like solving a puzzle could get rid of earworms. Either way, if you or someone you know is struggling with earworms there are a variety of solutions. And if this made you get something stuck in your head, I'm truly very sorry.