Song stuck in your head?
We all know, stuck-song syndrome happens. In fact, according to a Finnish study, about 92% of people experience this cognitive itch weekly and these types of parasites are clearly not consciously self induced.
Is it a clear sign of a good song? Does it signify that the song is well endowed
with catchy melodies to slosh around in your noggin whether you want them to or not? Indeed, no matter if you like the song or not, it'll get in there. You hear someone humming it or it is playing in the grocery store or from the radio on your way to work and you say “thanks a lot, now that song is stuck in my head !”
Does a memory trigger a repetitive loop that your brain is needing to express? Is there something you see that triggers a song? Are you merely filling the void of a bored mind with an uplifting beat? It could be any combination of these triggers but the musical simplicity, repetition and vocalization of something such as the “doot-do do-dootie-doot” in the baby shark song makes the sound swim around in your fishbowl head, feeding on your brain for days.
This unique musical phenomenon, scientifically known as "involuntary musical imagery”, or INMI comes from the German orwhurm."
Experts on INMI from Goldsmiths, University of London indicate that music with notes that last longer but are closer together in pitch are more likely to get stuck in your head. Perhaps a good example of this would be the Star Wars Imperial March song ? Oops sorry if that is stuck in your head now! The scientists created a model that could predict whether a tune has the potential to take up residence in your head with an over 80% success rate. Why is it usually just a snippet? Something in that part of that song that hooked you in?
Is there an emotion that triggers a song? Perhaps we have this innate ability to store a song in our radio head so we can pass along the vibration and communicate the message to ourselves or perhaps our brain waves get addicted to the pattern.
FREE THE SHARK!
It’s been said that a song gets stuck in your head because you haven’t heard the end of it. You’ve been exposed to a pieces of it and it won’t go away so to get it out of your head you need to listen to the whole song. Does this work? Is this some sort of survival tactic for music to stay active in human culture?
The other option is to replace the song with another one. In your experience is this a guaranteed fix? Does it cure the problem? Can it chase the baby shark but not be so
catchy itself to take it’s place endlessly sending waves to your inner ear?
These scientists call it the the "saturate and seek closure" method. Listen to the tune all the way through, at full volume, preferably singing along. By concentrating on the full version of the tune, the tune that haunts your inner ear will be broadcast by your radio heart beat until the very last chord fades from your mind.
How could the practical or therapeutic uses of ear-worms benefit for our brains and mental health? Try and anchor a melody in your head all day and see what happens.