Why Do Some Songs Get Stuck In Your Head? Scientists Have An Answer

Posted: Nov 5 2016, 1:55am CDT | by , Updated: Nov 5 2016, 11:20am CDT , in Latest Science News


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Why Some Songs Get Stuck in Your Head? Scientists have an Answer
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There is a reason why "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga repeats in your brains.

There are some songs that you just cannot get out of your head. They sound more catchier than others. You remember them long after you’ve heard them while others just fade away.

Researchers suggest that some songs tend to stick in our heads more than others for some very specific reasons. Songs that are more likely to become what is commonly called ‘earworms’ are usually faster paced, with a fairly global, easy-to-remember melody but what sets them apart from the average song is their specific intervals or repetitions.

The prime example of ‘sticky’ songs mentioned in the study is “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga followed by Kylie Minogue’s “Can't Get You Out Of My Head"

“These musically sticky songs seem to have quite a fast tempo along with a common melodic shape and unusual intervals or repetitions like we can hear in the opening riff of 'Smoke On The Water' by Deep Purple or in the chorus of 'Bad Romance.”Lead author, Kelly Jakubowski from Durham University said.

To find out what makes certain song catchier than others, researches used an online survey to ask 3,000 people to name their recent most frequent earworms. Then, they compared them with other songs that were ranked as highly as earworms in UK music charts during 2010 to 2013 but they had never been named as earworms in the database. And it turned out that they have many things in common.

Earworms is an extremely common phenomenon but it’s the first time a large-scale study has attempted to investigate it and it can help understand how brain networks associated with perception, emotions, memory and thoughts work in different people.

“Our findings show that you can, to some extent, predict which songs are going to get stuck in people's heads based on the song's melodic content. This could help aspiring song-writers or advertisers write a jingle everyone will remember for days or months afterwards.”Jakubowski said.

The most frequently named earworms in study are:

1. Bad Romance - Lady Gaga

2. Can't Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue

3. Don't Stop Believing - Journey

4. Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye

5. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5

6. California Gurls - Katy Perry

7. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

8. Alejandro - Lady Gaga

9. Poker Face - Lady Gaga

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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