Music psychologists research and analyze “Earworms”

Apologies upfront. You are about to get a bunch of pop songs stuck in your head

earworms

(CNN) – It’s estimated that 90% of us experience an earworm at least once a week. You know, those pesky songs you just can’t get out of your head, but why do certain tunes play on repeat in our minds?

Apologies upfront. You are about to get a bunch of pop songs stuck in your head

Music psychologists in the United Kingdom created a survey to come up with this list of catchiest songs and then analyzed the results to see what they all had in common.

They found every earworm had three essential ingredients. One, they tend to have a faster pace, something you can really dance to. Earworms are also simple in structure, but with a rhythmic pattern. Sounds may rise in pitch, go back down low and then rise again. Many nursery rhymes fit this pattern to help children remember them.

Finally the songs all break up that pattern with a few unique intervals to make it stand out. Researchers hope understanding how earworms affect our brains will add insight into how we process memories and moods.

If you are looking to get rid of an earworm, researchers have a few suggestions: Engage fully with the song by listening to it through to the end. You can also try distracting yourself with a different song. Though this could just leave you with another tune to get rid of or simply let it run its course and don’t think about it.

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