Why do songs get stuck in our heads? (- Ask Smithsonian / Smithsonian.com)
Why do songs get stuck in our heads?
Lexile

Ah, yes, the evil ear worm, which sometimes has our hearing seemingly sticking on the same song, over and over. Polls show that a stunning 90% of us have experienced these hearing parasites and nine out of 10 report having them at least weekly.

Who remembers these classic offenders? "Who Let the Dogs Out?" or "The Macarena," and my personal favorite, "Call Me Maybe." So what does science tell us about this musical torture? Not a whole lot yet but we're working on it.

Some say ear worms keep our brains occupied when they have nothing better to do. Others believe that they cause a part of our brain called the auditory cortex to itch, meaning we have to scratch it.

The oh, so helpful cures include singing the whole song to its end. Or occupying your poor brain some other way, such as solving puzzles.

Critical thinking challenge: How can your brain have an itch?

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COMMENTS (315)
  • OliviaV-3
    9/16/2014 - 08:41 p.m.

    Smithsonian is trying to figure out why songs get stuck in our head, and they have a couple of ideas. It could be ear worms trying to keep our brains occupied when there is nothing better to do. Or it cause our ear to itch, so we have to scratch it. 90%of people have had ear worms before, and so have I. 9 out of 10 people have them weekly! I think this is an interesting topic because I can relate to it. Although I have never heard it called ear worms before, that certainly got my attention to want to read more.

  • sophies-4
    9/16/2014 - 08:52 p.m.

    This article is about what happens when a song gets stuck in your head. This happens when your hearing gets stuck on the same song over, and over again. Polls show that 90% of people have felt this happen before. Some of the classic songs to get stuck in your head are "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and "The Macarena". Some ways to get songs out of your head are to listen to that song and to solve a puzzle.
    I can relate to this article because songs get stuck in my head all the time. I have never thought of solving a puzzle, but I can see how that would help. This article was very helpful for me.

  • sophies-4
    9/16/2014 - 08:52 p.m.

    This article is about what happens when a song gets stuck in your head. This happens when your hearing gets stuck on the same song over, and over again. Polls show that 90% of people have felt this happen before. Some of the classic songs to get stuck in your head are "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and "The Macarena". Some ways to get songs out of your head are to listen to that song and to solve a puzzle.
    I can relate to this article because songs get stuck in my head all the time. I have never thought of solving a puzzle, but I can see how that would help. This article was very helpful for me.

  • Damikus123
    9/16/2014 - 08:58 p.m.

    when we listen to music our brain helps us concentrate and understand on what we'er listening to.Music is an motivational hoby because it inspires you to do somethings or make you want to set your mine for new things.Songs get stuck in our head by the interest in the song also.

  • StephanieS-3
    9/16/2014 - 09:10 p.m.

    This article is about how and why many people get songs stuck in their head. Not much is found out about this topic, but there is some research. This happens if our brains are bored or have nothing else better to do. Others believe that this happens when the auditory cortex in our brain is itching. The best thing to do when this happens is to listen to the entire song from beginning to end. My opinion on this article is that this topic is very interesting to me, that's why it caught my attention. It was interesting because this happens to me all of the time.

  • StephanieS-3
    9/16/2014 - 09:11 p.m.

    This article is about how and why many people get songs stuck in their head. Not much is found out about this topic, but there is some research. This happens if our brains are bored or have nothing else better to do. Others believe that this happens when the auditory cortex in our brain is itching. The best thing to do when this happens is to listen to the entire song from beginning to end. My opinion on this article is that this topic is very interesting to me, that's why it caught my attention. It was interesting because this happens to me all of the time.

  • Kandace O.
    9/16/2014 - 10:18 p.m.

    I'm so confused.....Do we have actual parasites in our head that makes us remember songs? I sure hope not......But it is also very interesting how humans tend to memorize songs more than anything.

  • JackD-3
    9/16/2014 - 10:21 p.m.

    This article is about how and why songs get stuck in our heads. This article doesn't really tell us much about the how or why the songs get stuck in our heads, but instead it tells us that about ninety percent of the population has experienced this. Some ways this article tells you to get the song out of your head is to sing the entire song, or to occupy your brain. A theory on why this happens is that our brains do this when there is nothing better to do. Another theory is that a part of our brains "itch" and we have to "scratch" it. I found this topic interesting but I wish there was more information on why and how this happens.

  • nb2000hare7
    9/17/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    i have had a song stuck in my head for more than one day even though I haven't listened to the song that day I cat stop singing it

  • AV2000RED
    9/17/2014 - 08:47 a.m.

    You Brain Can Itch Because There Are Ear Worms In Our Ears And When We Have Nothing To Do It Itches . So When You Listen To The Song That's Been In Your Head For Hours Or Listen To Your Favorite Song , Solve A Puzzle Or Do Something That's Memorize-able Its Like Scratching The Itch .

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