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Song Stuck in Your Head? You're Not Alone
Reuters ^ | Monday, Feb 24, 2003 | Alison McCook

Posted on 02/24/2003 8:26:14 PM PST by InShanghai

 
Song Stuck in Your Head? You're Not Alone
By Alison McCook

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The vast majority of people say they have been mentally tortured at one point in their lives by a song that keeps repeating itself over and over in their heads.

And new research shows that people most frequently plagued by this phenomenon are those with slightly neurotic tendencies , and people who enjoy and listen to music often.

These mental broken records are also more likely to play the first or last song we hear in different situations, such as the first song that comes on in the morning alarm, or the last song playing before we turn off the car, study findings show.

Songs that topped the list as being most likely to stick around in someone's head included the Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and the Chili's restaurant jingle about Baby Back Ribs.

But the number one song rated most likely to cause this phenomenon, referred to as an "earworm" in Germany, is "other"--indicating that many different songs can become stuck in our heads.

"Just about anything can get stuck in people's heads," study author Dr. James Kellaris of the University of Cincinnati told Reuters Health.

"We each have our personal demonic tunes that get stuck in our heads, I guess," he added.

Kellaris presented results from his current study on Saturday at the Society for Consumer Psychology Winter Conference in New Orleans.

Kellaris's previous research into the phenomenon of earworms revealed that "sticky" songs are those that are relatively simple, repetitive, and contain an element that surprises the listener. This incongruous element can be an interrupted pattern, or something that violates expectations of what comes next.

During the current study, Kellaris distributed surveys to 559 people aged 18 to 49 asking them about their personalities, how often tunes got stuck in their heads, how long the episodes lasted, and when the phenomenon was most likely to happen.

Ninety-eight percent of respondents said they had experienced stuck songs. Most said the episodes occurred "frequently," and lasted an average of a few hours.

Songs with lyrics were most often the culprits, a trend that Kellaris said is not surprising. Often what gets sticky is not just a tune, but also lyrics, a trend he calls "stupid lyrics syndrome." Combining a tune and lyrics ups the chance of song snippets staying with the listener for hours, he said.

Episodes of earworms also tend to strike people with neurotic tendencies more often. These people are not seriously neurotic, Kellaris said, but may simply be more prone to worrying and anxiety, and may have neurotic habits like biting pencils or tapping fingernails.

Women were more likely than men to report feeling annoyed, frustrated, or irritated about having songs stuck in their heads--a trend Kellaris said he is hard pressed to explain.

In terms of how to protect yourself from earworms, Kellaris recommended that people not worry about a stuck song as soon as it appears, and perhaps avoid listening to music for a spell if it becomes too sticky.

Strategies people report using to rid themselves of stuck tunes involved trying to listen to something else, distracting themselves with another activity, and trying to erase the repetition of one song snippet by singing the song all the way through.

"If they can't remember the lyrics, sometimes it helps for them to sing through the entire song, and then it will go away," Kellaris said.

Kellaris said he has also heard a "folkloric" recommendation of chewing on cinnamon sticks to rid the brain of a sticky song.

"Some people swear that will unstick a stuck tune," he said.



TOPICS: Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: greatthreads; lyricalneurosis; music; songs
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To: jejones
OK, now you've done it--you reminded me of "Playground in My Mind." This calls for heavy artillery: "Tennessee Birdwalk."

Isn't that against International Law?

601 posted on 02/25/2003 6:33:25 PM PST by bootless (Never Forget)
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To: T Minus Four
Thanks, and you're not so bad yourself -- you're right, we haven't paid enough attention to The Cowsills. Because as we all know, "Indian Lake is a scene you should make with your little ones (ones) Keep it in mind when you're looking to find a place in the summer sun." Okay, I promise not to stay up until 1:30 in the morning this time dredging up lousy songs. But I think it's been about 25 years since I've seen them all together in one place like this. We need breaks from Saddam Hussein and Tom Daschle now and then.
602 posted on 02/25/2003 6:35:55 PM PST by speedy
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To: always paddle your own canoe
Fall into The Gap.
603 posted on 02/25/2003 6:36:59 PM PST by speedy
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To: deziner
Yeah -- remember they also did "Nights Are Forever Without You." England Dan and John Ford Coley searched the far corners of the globe looking for awful material, and they always found it.
604 posted on 02/25/2003 6:39:27 PM PST by speedy
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To: Interesting Times
"And mama hollered out the back door, y'all remember to wipe your feet."
605 posted on 02/25/2003 6:41:10 PM PST by speedy
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To: bootless
Yeah...a lot of these songs would count as instruments of torture.
606 posted on 02/25/2003 6:48:42 PM PST by jejones
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To: speedy
I'm just mad about Saffron.
Saffron's mad about me.
I'm just mad about Saffron.
She's just mad about me.
607 posted on 02/25/2003 6:52:21 PM PST by Interesting Times
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To: AAABEST
Ever notice that the first time she sings "One Day at a Time" it goes "I'm only human, I'm just a woman...", then later in the live version (when she's older) it goes "I'm only human, I am a woman...

Thank you! I thought it was me.

I wonder why she changed it. Probably just to screw with us, as if implanting these horrid songs in our heads wasn't bad enough.

She was in Vietnam. She's insane.

608 posted on 02/25/2003 6:52:51 PM PST by Jorge
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To: jejones
How about "I'll Play For You" by Seals and Crofts. "Hear the band, hear the band. You can sing and stomp your feet and clap your hands. These few moments -- we're together -- and I'll plaaaaaaay for you."
609 posted on 02/25/2003 6:53:26 PM PST by speedy
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To: Interesting Times
Electrical banana bound to be a sudden craze
Electrical banana gonna be the very next phase.

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
610 posted on 02/25/2003 6:55:55 PM PST by speedy
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To: abner
Speaking of Canadian! The legend passed on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called gitchi-goomi ...

611 posted on 02/25/2003 6:57:22 PM PST by reg45
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To: reg45
Very nice!! It shouldn't have taken us this long to get to "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald." And I think Starbuck has escaped mention so far too -- "Moonlight (Doo doo doo doo doo. Doo doo doo doo doo) Feels Right"
612 posted on 02/25/2003 7:02:36 PM PST by speedy
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To: speedy
How about "I'll Play For You" by Seals and Crofts. "Hear the band, hear the band. You can sing and stomp your feet and clap your hands. These few moments -- we're together -- and I'll plaaaaaaay for you."

EEWWW somebody bought me that album for my birthday years ago. I HATED IT.

It helped most people decide that they DIDN'T want Seals and Crofts to "play ANYTHING for" them anymore. What a stupid song.

613 posted on 02/25/2003 7:06:30 PM PST by Jorge
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To: Redcloak
The Liberty Bell March

Eric Idle, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, etc.

614 posted on 02/25/2003 7:08:37 PM PST by reg45
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To: Jorge
That's the great thing about a thread like this. It's so cathartic to work out the memories of embarrassing songs in relative anonymity. Whoever bought you that Seals and Crofts album was no friend. I was presented with a Samantha Sang album once, but it was intended for use as a frisbee. "In the words of a broken heart it's just EMOTION...."
615 posted on 02/25/2003 7:12:06 PM PST by speedy
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To: speedy
I'm En-a-ry the Eighth I am, En-a-ry the Eighth I am, I am!
616 posted on 02/25/2003 7:15:14 PM PST by T Minus Four
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To: T Minus Four
"Second verse, same as the first."

I was afraid you left the thread, T. I was going to go sulk and listen to my Jennifer Warnes collection. "Sun goes down, on a silky day. Quarter moon walkin' through the Milky Way. You and me baby, we could think of something to do -oo-ooooooh."
617 posted on 02/25/2003 7:20:57 PM PST by speedy
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To: Interesting Times
"Everybody was Kung Fu fighting, those fists were fast as lightnng, in fact it was a little bit frightening - here comes the big boss - huu, huu - let's get it on!"
618 posted on 02/25/2003 7:23:28 PM PST by 185JHP ( Brisance. Puissance. Resolve.)
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To: 185JHP
Oh man, Carl Douglas singing about those "funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown." Yeah, baby. Remember from about the same time there was Carol Douglas doing "Doctor's Orders."
619 posted on 02/25/2003 7:26:43 PM PST by speedy
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To: T Minus Four; speedy; Interesting Times; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; bootless; jejones
Going down to Stoney End--I never wanted to go down to Stoney End. Mama, let me start all over. Cradle me. Mama, cradle me again.
620 posted on 02/25/2003 7:27:12 PM PST by Charles Henrickson
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To: speedy
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

So the people of the valley sent a message up the hill
Asking for the buried treasure, tons of gold for which they'd kill

621 posted on 02/25/2003 7:29:08 PM PST by Interesting Times
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To: Charles Henrickson
Welcome back, Kotter. "Well I know what a scene you were learning in -- was there something that made you come back again?"


622 posted on 02/25/2003 7:29:20 PM PST by speedy
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To: speedy
... and parked in her rickety old garage
is a brand new shiny red super stock Dodge ...

623 posted on 02/25/2003 7:30:33 PM PST by reg45
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To: InShanghai
It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere,
I'm all alone, more or less,
Let me fly, far away from here,
Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun...
I want to lie shipwrecked and comatose,
Drinking fresh mango juice,
Goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes,
Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun...
Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun...

The Red Dwarf Theme Song

624 posted on 02/25/2003 7:31:21 PM PST by CARDINALRULES
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To: Charles Henrickson
(reaching grimly for the heavy artillary)

Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again
With the feeling that I get,
I don't even mind if we get wet

625 posted on 02/25/2003 7:32:48 PM PST by Interesting Times
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To: Interesting Times
Accckkk -- I didn't think there were any more depths to be plumbed, but you just did it. "Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend." Original Caste and Coven both charted with that piece of doo -- this could open up a whole new Billy Jack train of thought. "Oh, you've blown it all sky high." And Stars on 45, anyone?
626 posted on 02/25/2003 7:32:49 PM PST by speedy
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To: reg45
"Well, the last thing I remember Doc, I started to swerve. And then I saw the Jag slide into the curve. I know I'll never forget that horrible sight. Guess I found out for myself that everyone was right. WON'T COME BACK FROM DEAD MAN'S CURVE"
627 posted on 02/25/2003 7:36:03 PM PST by speedy
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Comment #628 Removed by Moderator

To: Latina_Abogada
Gracias -- send lawyers, guns and money!!
629 posted on 02/25/2003 7:39:29 PM PST by speedy
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To: speedy
Iiiiiiiii remember.
We were flying low, and hit something in the air...
630 posted on 02/25/2003 7:40:02 PM PST by Interesting Times
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To: speedy
The fact that we remember this stuff, gives away our ages!
631 posted on 02/25/2003 7:40:13 PM PST by reg45
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Comment #632 Removed by Moderator

To: reg45
Yeah -- Jan and Dean aren't on everyone's minds these days unless you are well above legal driving age. Of course, we could have learned these from our parents!! As poppa used to sing, "Well, I'm going to Surf City gonna have some fun, you know I'm going to Surf City 'cause it's two to one." Do you remember Patty Duke doing "Please Don't Just Stand There"?
633 posted on 02/25/2003 7:43:57 PM PST by speedy
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To: Interesting Times
"Call out the revolution -- because there's something in the air -- and you know it's right."
634 posted on 02/25/2003 7:45:15 PM PST by speedy
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To: hometoroost
Actually, I think of Bush singing:

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemt
It's a do-or-die situation

635 posted on 02/25/2003 7:45:19 PM PST by MsGail61
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Comment #636 Removed by Moderator

To: MsGail61
enemt = enemy
637 posted on 02/25/2003 7:46:35 PM PST by MsGail61
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To: InShanghai
"The Ultimate Melody" by Arthur C. Clarke, in "Tales From The White Hart"

This short story is about a scientist, Gilbert Lister, who develops the ultimate melody--one that so compels the brain that its listener becomes completely and forever enraptured by it. As the storyteller, Harry Purvis, explains, Lister theorized that a great melody "made its impression on the mind because it fitted in with the fundamental electrical rhythms going on in the brain". Lister attempts to abstract from the hit tunes of the day to a melody which fits in so well with the electrical rhythms that it dominates them completely. He succeeds...and is found in a catatonia from which he never awakes.

Clearly, the Ultimate Melody behaves like a lethal text. Like the lethal texts in Macroscope and _Snow Crash_ (by Neal Stepheson), it affects the physical structure of the brain in such a way as to render the individual incapable of normal action.

Purvis explains that the Ultimate Melody "would form an endless ring in the memory circuits of the mind. It would go round and round forever, obliterating all other thoughts".

Interestingly, Purvis speculates whether Lister's fate is a negative one. He muses, "Yet I'm not sure if his fate is a horrible one, or whether he should be envied. Perhaps, in a sense, he's found the ultimate reality that philosophers like Plato are always talking about". Purvis also compares the Ultimate Melody to the song of the Sirens, in that it was a "lethal" text that no one could hear in safety, nor communicate to others.

Link

638 posted on 02/25/2003 7:47:07 PM PST by js1138
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Comment #639 Removed by Moderator

To: Latina_Abogada; reg45
I've seen Jan and Dean perform several times in recent years. Jan's a little slow with the head injuries, but he always eventually gets it done. Burn off that quarter mile!!!
640 posted on 02/25/2003 7:47:56 PM PST by speedy
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To: speedy
Well, "It's the riiiight time of the niiiight, the stars are winking abooooove"
641 posted on 02/25/2003 7:49:22 PM PST by T Minus Four
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To: speedy
It was considered a "novelty song", IMO. I don't remember any DJ comments, pro or con. Remember "It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack"?
642 posted on 02/25/2003 7:50:25 PM PST by 185JHP ( Brisance. Puissance. Resolve.)
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To: Marauder
"Anyone who's raised a kid and sent him/her to any kind of church camp will recognize, "Found a peanut, found a peanut ..."
That song alone may account for any number of nervous breakdowns."

Uh-oh, you shouldn't have done that one. Remember, (sung at the top of the lungs by a crowd of pre-teen girls):

I'm a little piece of tin,
Nobody knows what I might have been
Got 4 wheels and a runnin' board
I'm a FORD oh, I'm a FORD
Honk, honk rattle rattle rattle crash
beep beep

Honk, honk rattle rattle rattle crash
beep beep
643 posted on 02/25/2003 7:50:51 PM PST by Darnright (Now I've got the doggone song running through my head)
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Comment #644 Removed by Moderator

To: speedy
". . . was there something that made you come back again?"

Ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough. . . .

645 posted on 02/25/2003 7:52:35 PM PST by Charles Henrickson
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Comment #646 Removed by Moderator

To: speedy
You're good... Okay, let's lower the bar...

She cries alone at night too often
He smokes and drinks and don't come home at all
Only women bleed...

647 posted on 02/25/2003 7:53:52 PM PST by Interesting Times
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To: Latina_Abogada
BUNNY Foo Foo! (down came the good fairy....)
648 posted on 02/25/2003 7:54:11 PM PST by T Minus Four
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To: Interesting Times
Once I was swimmin' 'cross Turtle Creek--man, them snappers all around my feet--sure was hard swimming 'cross that thing with both hands holding. . . .
649 posted on 02/25/2003 7:54:25 PM PST by Charles Henrickson
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To: Latina_Abogada
Do I even DARE dredge up fond memories of "Little Rabbit FOO FOO"?

Please.

It's "Little Bunny Foo Foo."

650 posted on 02/25/2003 7:54:59 PM PST by Interesting Times
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