[Dr. Willamson, a memory expert at Goldsmith's College in London] identified a set of triggers that had apparently caused these tunes to pop into people's heads and stay there.

"The first one is music exposure, which means the person has heard the music recently..."

Another unsurprising finding was that if you hear a song repeatedly, you're more likely to get stuck with it...

Another trigger she identified was stress...

Williamson says earworms may be part of a larger phenomenon called "involuntary memory", a category which also includes the desire to eat something after the idea of it has popped into your head. "A sudden desire to have sardines for dinner, for example," as she puts it. Or suddenly thinking of a friend you've not seen for ages.

There are a couple of reasons why this might happen with music, she says.

"Firstly, because music can be encoded in so many ways, it's what we call a 'multi-sensory stimulus'," she says.

"Secondly, music is often encoded in a very personal and emotional way, and we know that when we encode anything with emotional or personal connotations, it's recalled better in memory."

Other experts suggest music may get lodged in our heads because of the way humans evolved.

"For a very long period of time, we needed to remember information," says Daniel Levitin of McGill University in Montreal, an expert in the neuroscience of music.

Modern humans have been around for some 200,000 years, but written language may have been invented only around 5,000 years ago, Levitin says. So through much of human history people memorised important information through songs.

Levitin says the combination of rhythm, rhyme, and melody provides reinforcing cues that make songs easier to remember than words alone.


By Rhitu Chatterjee
PRI's The World


А вот отключить эту штуку, кажется, невозможно. Однажды, пытаясь "заместить" одну застрявшую мелодию другой, я прослушала целый альбом "Coldplay" раз десять без перерыва.

@темы: cool stuff