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Why do songs get inextricably stuck in our heads? Experts say the culprits are earworms (or "ohrwurms," as they're called in Germany). No, they're not parasites that crawl into your ear and lay musical eggs in your brain, but they are parasitic in the sense that they get lodged in your head and cause a sort of "cognitive itch" or "brain itch" -- a need for the brain to fill in the gaps in a song's rhythm. When we listen to a song, it triggers a part of the brain called the auditory cortex. Researchers at Dartmouth University found that when they played part of a familiar song to research subjects, the participants' auditory cortex automatically filled in the rest -- in other words, their brains kept "singing" long after the song had ended [source: Prokhorov]. The only way to "scratch" brain itch is to repeat the song over and over in your mind. Unfortunately, like with mosquito bites, the more you scratch the more you itch, and so on until you're stuck in an unending song cycle. There are many other theories about why songs get stuck in our heads. Some researchers say stuck songs are like thoughts we're trying to suppress. The harder we try not to think about them, the more we can't help it. Other experts claim that earworms are simply a way to keep the brain busy when it's idling [source: University of Cincinnati]. Just as there are many theories, there are many names for the phenomenon. It's been called everything from "repetunitis" to "melodymania." So why do some songs get stuck in our heads and not others?
Originally posted by The Sword
I am profoundly deaf and yet, whenever I hear a song, I can memorize it beat by beat, note by note. I wasn't born this way but instead started losing my hearing at 5.
I find this interesting. I have problems with certain songs.
I will say that it does motivate me, especially if it's the right song that's stuck.
Originally posted by hesse
Ohh that happens to me all the time when im listening to the radio or watching mtv or something. Thats the reason I dont listen to mainstream music. The music today is produced to do that. Most people tend to go and buy the song trapped in their head. There are certain notes and scales that go into the "brain" easily. The lyrics are also prone to create earworms. I listen to instrumental dubstep and ambient.
Originally posted by freebornman
This reminded me of a kind of 'musical tinnitus' I was getting a year or so ago. It was like swirling random musical sounds, but with no actual music to it. I started playing with it, like- OK brain, lets do techno...badda badda badda badda bump bump bump bump badda badda...etc. Mabye taking control of it made it go away, I don't really know, might have just cleared up on its own.
But I think the song from the radio sticking in your head is similar to how media companies plant stuff in your head through television, music being purely auditory i.e. one sense makes it easier to spot than television, which uses sound and vision. The constant drip drip of social engineering you get off the tube irritates me to the point that I won't watch it anymore.
Originally posted by hesse
well yeah It does get stuck in my head, but at least I like it. But I dont listen to skrillex like dubstep. More chilled out melodic dub. If I like the song I dont mind getting the earworm. But if its the black eyed peas (time of my life the remix) or something it drives me nuts!!
reply to post by digital01anarchy
Text yeah i cant really watch TV any more i remember when cable was supposed to be commercial free thats why you paid for it but i guess greed got the better of cable channels. iF dish network wasn't so crappy I might have bought the hopper that skips commercials i cant beieve they had the balls to try something like that but im happy they did