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Earworms in “Science” February 1, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

Let’s say you’re afflicted by an earworm. Say, for example, Baby Monkey (going backwards on a pig). Or Bananaphone. Or something really embarrassing like this.

I think if you were like most people, confronted by demons of your tympanic membrane, you’d do one of three things:

  1. Exorcise the demons by listening to another song. (Mrs. geoff says this one never fails)
  2. Ignore it until it goes away.
  3. Roll with it until it goes away.

Enter science, where real-live scientists with too much time and funding give you the real, sciency scoop on what you should do:

It happens to nearly everyone: A song — let’s say Abba’s “Waterloo” — is stuck in your head and just won’t go away.

Now science has not one but three ways to dig that dreaded earworm out. And none of them are too surprising, as researchers surveyed 18,000 residents of Finland and England and reported their findings in the journal PLOS One.

Researchers at the University of London found that earworm victims say you can listen to the complete song or sing it; you can just not let it bother you, or you can try using another song to shove out the offending tune.

You don’t say. Of course you can fault the Associated Press as well for deeming this useless work newsworthy. Especially when their closing sentence is:

“People get very annoyed about being made to listen to music that they find is not to their personal taste and that they cannot control,” Stewart said.

We live in an age where scientific miracles occur every day. And then there’s this.


1. Retired Geezer - February 1, 2014

I have ‘What the Fox Says” on continuous loop. I’m starting to like it.

2. geoff - February 2, 2014

For some reason I’m particularly susceptible to the “Fish goes blub” line. Once I think of that, the song is stuck in my head for awhile.

3. drketedc - February 3, 2014

Every time I run across the Rude Song from Snuff Box it sticks in my head for a long time. I have to counter it with The Fox.

4. osoloco11 - February 7, 2014

My current earworm is “Do you wanna build a snowman” from Frozen. I can’t shake it with Baby Monkey or Xanadu.

5. jam2 - February 8, 2014
6. jam2 - February 8, 2014

dammit! i blame geoff for this:

7. Mitchell - February 10, 2014

I want a government grant to study why Geoff hates science.

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