Why songs get stuck in your head-- and how to get them out
LOS ANGELES - We've all had a song stuck in our head that would not go away. In fact, it's estimated it happens to 90 percent of us at least once a week. Well, it happens to scientists, too. And they wanted to know why.
A study published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts has determined three simple reasons this happens: pace, shape of the melody, and a few unique intervals.
The catchiest songs in the study were those that were upbeat -- something you could move to. You aren't just humming that earworm, you're also bobbing your head or tapping your fingers.
The "shape" has a simple structure, but rhythmic pattern. Think of a nursery rhyme or the alphabet song. It's so easy to remember -- you couldn't forget it if you tried.
The final element is something unique that stands out to break away from the pattern. So it's repetitive with a twist -- that's what hooks you.
Scientists and musicians love the study, but we want to know their tricks for getting rid of a song that our brains are playing on repeat. They gave three options: just let it run its course, listen to the entire song, or distract yourself with a different song -- just don't pick another earworm.
The catchiest songs according to the survey:
"Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga
"Can't Get You Out Of My Head" by Kylie Minogue
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
"Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye
"Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5
"California Gurls" by Katy Perry
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
"Alejandro" by Lady Gaga
"Poker Face" by Lady Gaga