Do You Suffer From Earworm?

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It’s called earworm. When songs get stuck in your head, it can drive you batty after a while. But why does this happen? Why do certain tunes have a greater “stick factor?” In the first large-scale study of its kind, Dr. Kelly Jakubowski of Durham University in England has found the answer. The kind of songs that get stuck in your head are typically faster and have a generic and easy-to-remember melody with unique intervals, such as leaps or repetitions, that set it apart from the average pop song. 90 percent of us get a song stuck in our heads playing on an endless loop at least once a week. It normally happens at times when the brain is not doing much, such as when we’re in the shower, taking a walk or doing chores.

The most common earworm songs identified in the study:

  • “Alejandro,” by Lady Gaga
  • “Bad Romance,” by Lady Gaga
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by Queen
  • “California Gurls,” by Katy Perry
  • “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” by Kylie Minogue
  • “Don’t Stop Believing,” by Journey
  • “Moves Like Jagger,” by Maroon 5
  • “My Sharona,” by the Knack
  • “Poker Face,” by Lady Gaga
  • “Somebody That I Used to Know,” by Gotye

How to get rid of an earworm:

  1. Engage with the song. Listen to the earworm song all the way through.
  2. Distract yourself by thinking of or listening to a different song.
  3. Let it be. Try not to think about it and let it fade away naturally on its own.