IT is one of the big musical questions: why do certain pieces of music stick in your memory over others? Is it to do with an emotional association, something purely in the music itself, or both?

Ashley Burgoyne, a computational musicologist from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, teamed up with Manchester's Museum of Science and Technology to find out.

Using an online test, 12,000 people were asked if they recognised a particular song randomly selected from over 1000. Burgoyne and his team will use the results to look for shared characteristics between the "catchiest" songs over the next year to try to answer these questions.

However he did offer this to the BBC in their report:

"Although this is just a casual observation on my part, very strong melodic hooks seem to be the most memorable for people".

And what was the track most quickly recognised? Spice Girls - Wannabe.