It’s happened to all of us, the song that gets stuck in your head for what seems like an eternity. But what can be done about it?
I got such an earworm earlier this week and it drove me insane for a few days. Hazard of the job I suppose.
Now, scientists from the University of Reading in the UK report they have found a simple answer – chewing gum.
Sounds simple, I know. Let me break it down for you.
According to the researchers, “The part of our brain that processes auditory information – the auditory cortex – is triggered when we listen to a song so, when we hear a familiar tune again, our mind fills in the rest, repeatedly. This would suggest tune wedgies may be a form of involuntary musical memory.
“The act of gum-chewing is very similar to irrelevant sub-vocalization, which has proved to degrade short term memory performance as well as auditory images.”
Therefore, chewing gum actually interferes with the earworm experience.
And here’s something I didn’t know, “The earworm phenomenon stretches back at least to the 19th century – Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain both referenced the experience in well-known works,” said Reading’s Dr. Phil Beaman.
Previous research has also shown that virtually any song can become an earworm. Seriously, I know this for a fact. Commercial jingles are the worst for me.
I guess I should buy stock in Bubblicious.