Photograph by: Kaboompics // Karolina
It's common for a song, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere, to find its way into our heads and get stuck there. The melody repeating itself over and over again in your mind. If you're lucky it's a song you like; otherwise, you're stuck with some annoying diddy you can't quite shake.
Why is this? Why do certain songs get stuck in our heads so easily? A study published last November in the APA journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts sought to answer this.
The study showed that songs with simple and repetitive melodies are more likely to get stuck in our heads, especially songs with melodic forms most commonly found in western pop music.
“Our findings show that you can, to some extent, predict which songs are going to get stuck in people's heads based on the song's melodic content,” said Kelly Jakubowski, the lead author of the study.
Those songs that always seem to get stuck in our head the study calls “earworms”. Of the 3,000 people asked in the survey Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' was the most commonly named earworm. Other earworms that frequently came up were: 'Moves Like Jagger' By Maroon 5, 'California Gurls' by Katy Perry and 'Somebody That I Used To Know' by Gotye (the study collected this data between 2010 and 2013).
As far as getting rid of these earworms after they wriggle into your head, Jakubowski offers some solutions: Try and stop thinking about the song, try listening to something else, or actually listen to the song stuck in your head all the way through.