Earworm Project, Goldsmiths, University of London

Quoted from http://www.gold.ac.uk/music-mind-brain/earworm-project/:

Earworm Project, Goldsmiths, University of London

Earworm Project

Why do tunes get stuck in our heads?

The Music, Mind and Brain group is currently running a number of projects examining the nature and prevalence of earworms.  We are funded by the British Academy and our current projects run in partnership with 6Music (BBC Radio).

This page will be updated regularly with links for studies, findings, and summaries of research progress as the projects advance.

What are earworms?

The term earworm originally comes from a translation of the German word ‘Ohrwurm’. It refers to the experience of having a tune or a part of a tune stuck in your head. Often a person experiencing an earworm has no idea why a tune has popped into their head and has little control over how long it continues.

Earworms are a really common phenomenon: A recent poll suggested over 90% of the population experience them at least once a week, so it seems like having the odd earworm is perfectly normal. But 15% of people classified their earworms as  “disturbing” [1] and in a different study one third of the people described their earworms as “unpleasant” [2] – This means that although earworms are essentially harmless they can get in the way of what you are trying to do and can stop you from thinking straight.

Despite the prevalent nature of earworms and the potential impact they can have on our normal thought processes very little is known about what causes earworms, why they happen to some people more than others and why some tunes are more commonly heard as an earworm than others.

This is where our research comes in!

Our Projects

We are currently running a number of projects funded by the British Academy which aim to answer these questions. Details relevant to each of the studies, as they emerge, will be published below.

Project 1: What features do typical earworm music tunes have in common? – Are some tunes naturally more ‘sticky’ because of the way they are constructed?

Project 2: What do people who frequently experience earworms have in common? – Are musicians or people who love music more vulnerable? What about people with different personality types?

Project 3: What causes earworms? – Are some situations more ‘high risk’? What about the frequency of exposure? Can earworms have a purpose?

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Dub FX 10/10/2008 ‘Love Someone’

This time next year, Rodney, we’ll be millionaires!

I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this before.

Ok here it is the secret to being a millionaire.

It could take some time and maybe a couple of generations but:

1) Join a betting site I used Ladbrokes

2) Try to jump through the many hoops that gets you a free bet
– I screwed up here and forgot to deposit my money on a Wednesday morning during Lent from an offshore bank account starting with the letter C

3) Bet on sure winners. E.g. I bet on A Murray vs. M Baghdatis with Murray to win. Ok I only won £3.56 but that’s 13% return. You don’t get that with a bank account.
I’m now on £30.56 and if France and Murray win this evening I’ll be up to £50.

I know what your thinking – why didn’t I think of that?
I’m thinking I wish I’d started this 10 years ago and I might have a gambling habit by now
Be a responsible gambler

I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this before.

Ok here it is the secret to being a millionaire. It could take some time and maybe a couple of generations but:
1) Join a betting site I used Ladbrokes
2) Try to jump through the many hoops that gets you a free bet
– I screwed up here and forgot to deposit my money on a Wednesday morning during Lent from an offshore bank account starting with the letter C
3) Bet on sure winners. E.g. I bet on A Murray vs. M Baghdatis with Murray to win. Ok I only won £3.56 but that’s 13% return. You don’t get that with a bank account.

I’m now on £30.56 and if France and Murray win this evening I’ll be up to £50.
I know what your thinking – why didn’t I think of that?
I’m thinking I wish I’d started this 10 years ago and I might have a gambling habit by now