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.
- Wikipedia Entry on Earworms
- WebMD Entry
- SFGate Article
- University of Cincinnati article on sources and possible explanations for a business college article, it was awfully full of science