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Why you just can't "let it go": the science of earworms


Ever since the name flub heard ‘round the world (and the three minutes or so that followed), I haven’t been able to get Frozen’s hit song “Let It Go” out of my head. Yep, apparently that’s me and 98 percent of the rest of the world, with one song or another.

 

According to research over the last decade, ear worms—or those songs that get stuck in your head for ages—are incredibly common. The most typical musical candidates feature a lot of repetition and tend to be played on different mediums, like TV and radio. Kids songs, product jingles and pop hits are huge offenders. Usually, our brain replays 30-second snippets of songs. Unless you’re me, and all you know from the song is “let it go, let it go!” Darn.

 

While there is no definitive method to rid yourself of the song-on-repeat problem, scientists report that most earworms only last for about 24 hours. Though if you’re a musician, they tend to stick around longer.

 

What’s your current earworm? What do you think would be the worst?

 

 

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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 3/15/2014 12:00:00 AM

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