You’d be lying if you say this hasn’t happened to you; almost everyone of us have had snippets of songs stuck inside our head, as they keep replaying at the most annoying and inappropriate of times. When you’re trying really hard to sleep, for instance, or worse yet, when you’re sitting inside the examination hall trying to remember something, but all you can really recall is a snippet of some song that just refuses to stop playing inside your head!
Here’s why this happens:
It’s called an earworm (and don’t take this literally).
When you hear a gripping or catchy piece of music, it activates a part of your brain, the Auditory Cortex, that is responsible for processing the incoming audio information. Hearing that song again and again, or thinking about it, re-activates the Auditory Cortex, and that specific part of the brain keeps replaying inside your head.
Yes, your favorite song did indeed infect your mind.
Think of it as a mosquito bite. It’s a rash, and it will keep on itching (and by itching, we mean it’ll keep playing inside your head).
You need to hear a song repeatedly for it to qualify as an earworm. That’s because your brain needs to memorize the lyrics before it can keep replaying it. Moreover, the particular catchy snippet needs to be around 10 seconds long to get stuck inside your head.
Don’t pretend like you haven’t had this song stuck inside your head.
This can happen to old songs too. Think of a song you used to hear repeatedly, say 5-6 years ago. Hear it again once. Or simply, think about the person or environment you used to associate that song with.
And there you go, it’s stuck inside your head again, isn’t it?
This musical ‘rash’ is also known as Stuck Song Syndrome, and research has shown that women have more difficulty getting rid of it than men.
But the question is, how DO you get rid of this?
Listening to the song again and again won’t help, just like itching a mosquito bite makes it worse, even if you think it gives you temporary relief.
The key is to focus your brain on something else, something that will require your brain’s full concentration and time, like solving Math questions.
(To be very honest, I’d rather have the song stuck inside my head too).
Or, you could just put another song on repeat to get the first one out of your head. But only if you’re ready for another musical ‘rash’.
It’s funny what the human brain is capable of, isn’t it?