Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Earworms (Can't Get That Song Out of My Head)

In addition to psychology, I also teach US Government.  I have a number of students who are learning English and I will utilize my own childhood experience of "School House Rock" on DVD as a subtitled visual tool to help them learn about various aspects of the government.  One pernicious song for me is "The Preamble."  You can view a copy on YouTube here.  The sad and bizarre point I am making is that when I show this, I cannot get that darn song out of my head for days.  In fact, as I sit here writing this, it has come back.  Grrr. 

As it turns out, there is a name for this phenomenon--it is called an "earworm." 
In March, 2008, Radiolab did a show examining and explaining why the experts thought they occurred (included Oliver Sacks and Diana Deutsch).  In June, 2008, Radiolab did a show on how people reduce these irritations.  I am pleased to know why they occur and some strategies for reducing them.

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