Last night Glee rocked out to Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”, pepped up some Hall & Oates, and ended with Adele’s “Rumor Has It/Someone Like You” for an awesome final mash-up. How many of you woke up with the “rumor has it” line stuck in your head?
We’ve all been there: you wake up with one line from a song as your first thought. Later on, throughout the day, any time you let your mind wander you’re instantly singing that same line again, looping over and over.
But have you ever wondered why songs get stuck? If you’ve ever found yourself singing a particular chorus or verse every few minutes, scientists have now determined the factors involved. MSN enlightened us this week in their The Body Odd column:
Known as earworms, these random snippets of songs or melodies pop into our minds repeating themselves again and again like a broken record.Studies suggest that 90 percent of people get them at least once a week. Over the last decade, researchers have spent time collecting data to learn who gets earworms, how often they occur, how long they last and which songs won’t budge from our brains.
Now, a new British study in the journal Psychology of Music has tried to understand their origins. They looked at how earworms, which psychologists call involuntary musical imagery, get started in the first place.
Researchers collected data from 604 people who completed an online survey. After analyzing the responses, they identified four main triggers for earworms. The most common one was music exposure, either recently hearing a tune or repeatedly hearing it. A second reason was memory triggers, meaning that seeing a particular person or word, hearing a specific beat, or being in a certain situation reminds you of a song.
The third reason for earworms is your emotional frame of mind, or “affective states.” Feeling stressed, surprised or happy when you hear a song may make it stick in your head. And a fourth cause was “low attention states.” A wandering mind, whether from daydreaming or dreams at night, can set off this involuntary musical imagery.
So there you have it – leave your mind vulnerable and you might be stuck with a certain song for days on end. Researchers have also found that musician’s earworms usually last longer that most. But what about getting it out of your head? That’s still a mystery. Some experts suggest distracting yourself – so head on over to our Facebook page to do just that, and let us know your thoughts! What’s the longest you’ve had a melody stuck in your head?
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