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#198035 - Mon Oct 20 2003 01:44 PM What's Your "Earworm"?
Linda1 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 11250
Loc: Munchkinland
What song is your personal "earworm"? How do you get rid of it?

Quote:

No Cure for Songs Stuck in Your Head









By RACHEL KIPP
Associated Press Writer









ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Unexpected and insidious, the earworm slinks its way into the brain and refuses to leave. Symptoms vary, although high levels of annoyance and frustration are common. There are numerous potential treatments, but no cure.









"Earworm" is the term coined by University of Cincinnati marketing professor James Kellaris for the usually unwelcome songs that get stuck in people's heads. Since beginning his research in 2000, Kellaris has heard from people all over the world requesting help, sharing anecdotes and offering solutions.









"I quickly learned that virtually everybody experiences earworms at one time or another," he said. "I think because it's experienced privately and not often a topic of conversation, maybe people really long for some social comparison. They want to know if other people experience what they experience."









Kellaris, whose most pervasive personal earworm (Byzantine chants) likely has something to do with his wife's job as a church choir director, has been interested in the topic of earworms for decades. As a musician who now studies how marketers reach the public, he began wondering how widespread stuck songs really are, and began doing small surveys in 2000.









Last year, he surveyed about 500 students, faculty and staff on campus asking about the type, frequency and duration of earworms, and possible causes and cures. Among the songs respondents picked as most likely to become stuck were: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," the Chili's restaurant "baby back ribs" jingle and "Who Let the Dogs Out."












But the choice that topped the so-called "playlist from hell" was "Other," meaning the majority of those surveyed chose a unique song of their own as the most probable earworm. That led Kellaris to conclude that stuck songs are highly idiosyncratic.









"There are certain tunes that we would describe as catchy that are more likely to become one, but just about anything can become an earworm," he said.









The study, presented at conferences of the Society for Consumer Psychology in 2001 and 2003, showed:









-Women report more irritation and frustration as a result of earworms.









-People who are constantly exposed to music suffer them more frequently.









-There may be a connection between earworms and a person's level of neurosis.









"People with higher neuroticism scores tend to react to the onset of an earworm by saying 'Oh no, here it goes again, I wonder how long this is going to last,'" Kellaris said. "That fretting about it, I think, exacerbates it."









The atmosphere is ripe for earworms at Last Vestige, a music store just west of downtown Albany. As customers flipped through compact discs and records with markers displaying such subjects as "Elvis the Pelvis" and "Beatles Cash-in Copycats," employees Jim Kaufman and Charles Monroe ruminated on recent bouts with earworms.









"Top 40 pop, usually - stuff you wouldn't catch yourself listening to at home," said Kaufman, who named Jennifer Lopez's "Jenny From the Block" as a past stuck song. "Or stuff you're ashamed to admit listening to at home."









Both men said they get rid of earworms either by trying to ignore them or by playing a tune they enjoy. Monroe said an earworm "usually happens when I only hear the song for like a second, like if I go to the laundromat and I'm kind of in and out."









Kellaris heard similar stories after news of his study reached the public. He got hundreds of e-mails from the Philippines, South Africa, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, Argentina and all over North America. Among the messages:









-A company that provided background music for retail stores wanted to know how to avoid using music prone to becoming an earworm.









-Sufferers of a psychiatric condition where patients hear music when none is playing sent queries and case histories hoping Kellaris had found a way to cure or treat the disorder. The professor said the two are unrelated.









-Personal stories about earworms haunting individuals for weeks, months or years.









-Suggestions of how to cure an earworm, including chewing on a cinnamon stick, passing the earworm on to someone else or erasing the offending song by singing the theme from "Gilligan's Island."









For marketers, earworms can be a "double-edged sword," helpful if consumers look upon a memorable jingle favorably but with the potential to breed negativity toward a brand if the stuck song is viewed as annoying or unwelcome, said Larry Compeau, a marketing professor at Clarkson University and executive officer of the Society for Consumer Psychology.









"I think the trick with earworms or with any kind of piece of music in advertising is to make sure the music is going to trigger the kinds of emotions or feelings you want the consumer to experience," he said.









Studying when earworms are most likely to occur is next up for Kellaris.









He said one theory is that stuck songs are "the brain's attempt to resolve missing information," and that retrieving the forgotten lyrics of a song will provide closure that "unsticks" an earworm.



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#198036 - Tue Oct 21 2003 12:06 AM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
tanzen Offline
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Registered: Tue Oct 02 2001
Posts: 8311
Loc: Melbourne
VIC Australia
At work the two girls I work with and myself have the "random jukebox selection", which is basically a sharing of whatever song is stuck in your head...you'd be suprised the songs that seem to come out of nowhere

The one song that kills me the most often (but will drive my sister insane if I put it in her head ) is of course "Instanbul (Not Constantinople)" .
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#198037 - Tue Oct 21 2003 05:27 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
IndieQueen Offline
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Registered: Tue Apr 17 2001
Posts: 7306
Loc: Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania USA
Right now, "Dyslexic Heart" by Paul Westerberg and "Shooting Dirty Pool" by the Replacements are sharing space in my brain. Actually, it's just one line from "Shooting Dirty Pool" that's running around in my brain. "Get your money on the table, get you head out of you a**." I just love that line.
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#198038 - Wed Oct 22 2003 03:24 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37601
Loc: Jersey
Channel Islands    
Linda I think the presenter of the early morning radio show here must have seen the same article as he spoke about it yesterday morning and got people to text in with their ear worms. "Its a Small Small World" springs to mind, I went on the ride at Disney and couldn't get the tune out of my head for days, it nearly drove me crazy.
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#198039 - Wed Oct 22 2003 03:46 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
Linda1 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 11250
Loc: Munchkinland
Hmmmmm...

It's a small world after all, It's a small world after all, It's a small world after all, It's a small, small world.

Everyone, let's help Sue remember this song once again!

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#198040 - Wed Oct 22 2003 04:00 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
Copago Offline
Moderator

Registered: Tue May 15 2001
Posts: 14384
Loc: Australia
There is an ad on here at the moment which is THE most annoying thing ever - it's burrowed deep into my brain and won't. come. out.

WHAT'S UP? (kids yelling)
can't hear you
WHAT"S UP?
can't hear you
WHAT'S UP?
can't hear you I need to blow my nose.

yes, you read right. It is a song teaching kids to blow their nose. Sad, really.

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#198041 - Wed Oct 22 2003 04:31 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 15592
Loc: Western Canada
The lullaby tape for the babies in the room next to my kitchen at work is one of those faux classical things that you buy at the candle shop, lots of strings, wave sounds, etc. Somewhere in it, it must repeat three or four notes from Kansas' "Dust in the Wind", because that's what I always find myself humming, about ten minutes into nap time.
I find these "earworms" much harder to get rid of if I don't actually know the song very well, but can just repeat a snatch here and there. If I actually know the song, chorus and all three verses, and just sing it through to myself, it usually goes away!

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#198042 - Wed Oct 22 2003 09:30 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
IndieQueen Offline
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Registered: Tue Apr 17 2001
Posts: 7306
Loc: Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania USA
Yesterday, I was playing a song for a friend and he started singing "This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend." That song bounced around my head for hours!
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#198043 - Thu Oct 23 2003 12:12 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
ClaraSue Offline
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Registered: Sun May 18 2003
Posts: 7841
Loc: Arizona USA
For some reason, I woke up this morning with the song "I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus", going through my head. I don't remember hearing it recently so I wonder where it came from. This happens quite frequently to me, however, not always the same song. Sometimes it stays for days.
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#198044 - Sat Oct 25 2003 12:16 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
kloot Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 22 2003
Posts: 97
Loc: Manchester
England IK
The theme song from The Muppets - for some reason especially when I'm watching City play...
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#198045 - Sat Oct 25 2003 12:32 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
Lanni Offline
Prolific

Registered: Tue Oct 02 2001
Posts: 1817
Loc: Brooklyn New York USA  
Punjabi MC's Beware of the Boys is in my head.

I have no clue what the words mean and can only guess what the song is about, but I can get equally unaware people around me to sing along when I start singing aloud.

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#198046 - Sun Oct 26 2003 10:56 AM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
rogue Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sat Apr 05 2003
Posts: 664
To get rid of an "earworm", I play a mixed tape of my most favorite songs from a certain year or period of time. That usually does the trick.

Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" has been an earworm the most times for me, though I have no idea why. I can go years without hearing it but it still gets stuck in my mind.

The worst earworms, I believe, are those tunes that I can't recall or don't know the titles of or who's singing them. The ending theme to a mid-'80s Linda Hamilton movie was repeating itself in my head for days before I could remember what it was. But I loved the tune- which was not available on record, so I taped it from the video to a music cassette and that seemed to drive the earworm out. Why is there so much music in films that isn't available on cd or lp? Perhaps there'd
be fewer earworms if these lonely movie melodies could make it to the official soundtracks.

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#198047 - Sun Oct 26 2003 01:34 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
ozzz2002 Offline
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Registered: Mon Dec 03 2001
Posts: 20341
Loc: Sydney
NSW Australia
No particular song gets stuck in my head.. it is usually the last song I hear before I turn the radio off.

I have 'Edelweiss' as my phone ring- I guess that would be the closest that I would to an Earworm.
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#198048 - Sun Oct 26 2003 03:11 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
Chelseafc Offline
Participant

Registered: Mon Oct 13 2003
Posts: 32
Loc: South east England
It's usually one of those awful girl/boy band songs that you end up whisteling.You get embarrassed and everyone else pulls a face and laughs and you protest that you hate it ..........

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#198049 - Thu Dec 11 2003 03:22 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
Linda1 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 11250
Loc: Munchkinland
Up!

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#198050 - Thu Feb 19 2004 07:30 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
AlienGoddess Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Tue Feb 17 2004
Posts: 4435
Loc: Pleasanton California USA   
Well, I don't have a specific "earworm," but whenever it does happen, it's always a song that I absolutely hate! I wonder why that is?
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#198051 - Thu Feb 19 2004 09:58 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
Copago Offline
Moderator

Registered: Tue May 15 2001
Posts: 14384
Loc: Australia
I have "death-defying" by the Hoodoo Guru's going around my head today - but it's a song I like and those oooo-eeeeee's are fun.

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#198052 - Thu Feb 19 2004 11:02 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
lothruin Offline
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Registered: Wed Nov 12 2003
Posts: 2165
Loc: Nebraska USA
A friend of mine used to get "We Built This City" by Starship stuck in his head any time he'd hear even a tiny bit of it. Oh, the trouble we caused him...

I don't think I ever get specific songs in my head, but I must be a sadist deep in my soul, because sharing my annoying song with someone else always seems to get rid of it. It could be bouncing around in my head for minutes or hours, and as soon as I say to someone, "You know I've got this song stuck in my head, perhaps you'd like it instead" and sing a few bars, POOF. Away it goes.
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#198053 - Thu Feb 19 2004 11:43 PM Re: What's Your "Earworm"?
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 15592
Loc: Western Canada
For some reason, for the past couple of weeks, it's been "This Guy's In Love With You". NOT one of my all time favorite songs, by the way. I can drive it out for a while with the "Gilligan's Island" theme song (not that much of an improvement, really) but it always comes back.

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