Earworms: Not What you Think




Two studies were done on “earworms”, having a song stuck in your head, and how they affect us (Beaman, 2011). The studies performed were a questionnaire and diary study. The questionnaire was designed to gain insight into multiple aspects of how earworms affect us. There were 103 participants, 64 male and 39 female, that ranged in age from 15years old to 57 years old. Results from the questionnaire found that earworms last for long periods of time. 88.2% of people said that earworms would last for a period of hours or longer. Respondents also claimed that earmworms could prevent them from doing certain things and wasted some time or lots of time (about 5%). Because results from this survey are so subject to recollection bias, as well as the results being found from such a large group relfting on their multiple earworm experiences to give a single answer the diary study was performed as well. The diary study examines individual earworms in a more everyday sense. The participants made up 10 males and 15 females for 25 participants in total. The participants were given instructions and a form then requested to hand in their diaries every two weeks. Results show that 269 earworms were reposted in total. This shows that on average there are 1.12 earworm episodes per week. There were also 199 different tunes reported with 70 of them being repeated.


After reading about the studies performed by Beaman(2011), I really started to think about earworms more and more. Soon I realized I had had an earworm the whole time reading this study. Psychologists explain this aspect of memory as involuntary cognition(Williamson, et al., 2011). This basically means it comes to mind without any vollentairy or deliberate attempts to do so. Sometimes without you even realizing. The study above by Williamson (2011) does not ask the participant any questions on their personal opinion on the earworms they experienced like if they enjoyed the song they thought of. However the study found that people who claim music is important to them report earworms last longer than someone who claims music has less importance to them. Personally, the earworms I get usually are songs I enjoy and have listened to most recently. “No one like you” by The Scorpions was in my head while doing my homework today.

Overall, the study by Beaman(2011) found that earworms are not considered problematic by the majority of people and that earworm recurrence is uncommon and unlikely to last longer than 24 hours.



More breakdowns and reflections on studies coming soon. If you are wondering about sources please leave a comment below. Unlike the degenerate beyonce my articles are actually backed by real research.
 
um might be late but i once got the sample melody from the bridge of "Nasty Girl" by Destiny's Child playing in my head, for no reason, outta nowhere, over and over til i had some kind of panic attack, yeah pretty disturbing
 
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