If you do a job that's repetitive or involves manual labour or something that focuses your mind on a physical task, getting songs stuck in your head is a huge problem.

It can be something as stupid as EEYYYYY MACARENA or even something more up-to-date like Drake's Hotling Bling. However, it's not because they're catchy songs or you really like Canadian rappers. There's actually a scientific reason behind it.

The leading theory surrounding earworms is that it's caused by your brain being on a low cognitive load. Simply put, your brain is like a computer and when it's not being taxed or worked, it goes into Screensaver Mode. Your brain will repeat a recently-heard song or line of dialogue from a film to keep you entertained.

Of course, as we know, it gets annoying. Really, really quickly. Dr. Lauren Stewart of Goldsmiths University carried out a study by having test subjects watch the trailer for a James Bond movie followed by clips from Pretty Woman. The study found that those that were doing a more taxing task mentally were less likely to hear music than those that didn't.

As for what constitutes an earworm, there's various thoughts on the subject. Ira Hyman, a psychologist at Western Washington University, believes that music listened during a task are more likely to become an earworm as opposed to those that are listened to on their own.

However, to rid yourself of an earworm, there's a few proven ways of doing it. A study by the University of Reading found that people who chewed gum reported far lesser earworms than those that didn't.

Dr. Kelly Jakubowski of Goldsmiths University also recommends listening to the song that's actually driving you crazy, as it can actually help bring you closure. Another helpful tip is to think of another song to drown it out, which will redirect your brain and get said earworm out of your head.

In the meantime, here's one that ALWAYS gets stuck in our head.


Via ScienceDirect.com