Friday, 16 February 2018

Getting Rid Of Earworms

I have a horrible affliction where if i sing along to a song, the song gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day which can be a bit embarrassing if it's something uncool and i'm wandering about at work humming along to Right Said Fred or Aqua's Barbie Girl.
The name for a song that stays in your brain is an earworm and my earworm today was Pet Shop Boy's 'Go West' which i made the schoolgirl error of singing along to while digging around in the toaster this morning.
Strangely there are some songs which are more 'earwormy' than others, and science has come up with a formula for just how deeply embedded that song you heard on the radio this morning is going to be for the rest of the day.
The exact formula was revealed as: Receptiveness + (predictability - surprise) + (melodic potency ) + (rhythmic repetition x 1.5) = you having the song on loop in your mind.
The top five songs are 'We will rock you' - Queen, 'Happy' - Pharrell Williams, 'We are the Champions' - Queen, '500 miles' - Proclaimers and 'YMCA' - Village People but don't despair if you have spent the day with 'Young man, there's no need to feel down I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground' whirring around your head because science also explains the way to remove them
is to be 'cognitively engaged', or in plain speak do a Crossword or Sudoku.
Apparently this forces the intrusive music out of your working memory allowing it to be replaced with other things such as the name of the ship in Jason and the Argonauts or the name of Tintin's dog.
So next time you get a song stuck in your head, go in the open air, where the skies are blue, this is what we're gonna do, go west...damn, where's that Sudoku book.

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