APR 18, 2017 7:08 PM PDT

Get that song out of my head!


Ever heard of an ear-worm? Also known as involuntary musical imagery, perpetual music track, or sticky song syndrome, most of us have at once point been plagued with this phenomenon. In fact, one study showed that 90% of people suffer from at least one ear-worm every week. Approximately a third of people get songs stuck every day! But why do songs get stuck in our heads, why do you sing the same verse over and over, and why is it so difficult to get a song unstuck?

Psychologists refer to the Zeigarnik effect to explain the reason why we often only get fragments of songs stuck in our heads. This effect describes how people tend to remember tasks that have been interrupted more than tasks that have been completed. Following this, if you only hear a part of a song, you may be more susceptible to rehearing that part for the rest of the day. Also following this logic, if you consciously complete the song, you may be able to unstick it from your head!

Of course, some songs get stuck in our heads more than others because of their repetitive nature, be it the words or melody. What can you do to get these catchy songs away from you? Watch the video to find out!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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