Now many of my earworms are predictable, like Jesse's Girl or Call Me Maybe but for some reason, I woke up with this song in my head, which I was singing in the shower and will likely sing all day, to my great consternation Damnit, why don't I have a penny? Aha-penny will do and if you don't have a ha-penny well then GOD BLESS YOU! What weird earworms have you had? Like when you woke up and that song, I just died in your arms tonight by the Cutting Crew was lodged in your brain for a week. Or when you were loudly singing "WE HAD JOY, WE HAD FUN, WE HAD SEASONS IN THE SUN?" Oh the randomly firing synapses of my old brain.
Why do people have earworms? No one really knows but my extensive (like 2 minute) search of the internet revealed these possible explanations:
the phenomenon is quite common. For instance, a study from the Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition found that more than 91 percent of people reported having an earworm at least once a week, while about a quarter had them more than once a day.
As frequent as earworms may be, however, what triggers them and why they occur still remain mysteries. That's mainly because earworms—which tend to last eight seconds—are by definition involuntary, and therefore tracking them in a scientific setting can be a near-impossible task. Researchers have yet to develop consistent methods of inducing earworms in test subjects. The data that researchers have culled on the subject so far come from surveys of a few thousand people or from small diary studies—but participants can be unreliable in recalling how often they get earworms, for how long, what they were doing at the time, what might have caused the earworm to disappear, and so on.
Music cognition research suggests that earworms could have something to do with how music affects the brain's motor cortex, according to Margulis. When people listen to music, "there's a lot of activity in the motor planning regions," she says. "People are often imaginatively participating even while they're sitting still."
Repetitive listening could also breed earworms. Indeed, 90 percent of the time, we listen to music we've heard before, says Margulis, and "when you've heard [a song] the fourth or fifth time, [one] note carries with it just so clearly the implications of the next note. You can almost feel exactly what's going to happen next."
A song's structure might contribute to brain burrowing, too. "There are general patterns of characteristics for songs that frequently get stuck, such as being simple, repetitive, and having some mild incongruity," James Kellaris, a professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati who's conducted research on the influence of music on memory, wrote in an email.
Of course, I disagree with the reasons because I believe earworms are caused by an unholy trilogy of Xenu, Satan and Mitt Romney.
Share your thoughts and earworms below.