We’ve all probably experienced “song humming in your head” the day when a song just pops out of nowhere and doesn’t disappear from our brains all the time, and its constant repetition often makes us irritate.
Some scholars have devoted themselves to studying this condition, which some surveys found that 90% of people suffer from, and about a third of them considered it neutral or positive, while the remaining third considered it annoying and arousing feelings of anger.
In an article published on the Harvard Medical School website, Srini Pillay, professor of psychiatry at the university and co-director of the Center for Neurosciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and co-author of a 2018 paper on the neurobiological effects of music, explains why some songs stick to our heads.
The phenomenon is known as earworms, a name that comes from the German word Ohrwurm, which means catchy tone. The concept was formulated in 1979 by psychiatrist Cornelius Eckert.
Basically, this phenomenon describes a repetitive piece of music, usually about 20 seconds in length, that automatically comes to your consciousness and continues to play repeatedly.
Why Is A Certain Song Humming In Your Head ?
Certain musical characteristics make songs more likely to become earworms, such as if the track is repetitive, if certain notes are longer, or if the intervals between notes are smaller. Also, songs that evoke some kind of emotional charge, whether consciously or unconsciously, or songs associated with a particular memory.
Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging have looked at brain structure, and researchers have found that there is an auditory cortex in the temporal lobe of the brain that supports musical perception, and connections between that cortex and deep temporal lobe regions, such as the hippocampus or the parahippocampal gyrus, which are important in encoding and retrieval of memory.
The vocal circuit, whose function is to store verbal content in the brain, is involved in this process for a certain number of seconds.
And so there are networks in the brain that support these functions of music, memory, attention, holding something in your head, working memory.
Then there is the connection to emotional regions of the brain, such as the amygdala, which is involved in the emergence of negative and negative emotions, and the ventral corpuscle, or nucleus accumbens, which is involved in positive emotions and reward. These are all believed to be involved in earworms (having a song stuck in your head).
It is noteworthy that the use of music with rhyme before written words in many cultures to help people remember oral history. And our brains evolved to remember these associations and these snippets.
And what happens is that the connections in our brains that include these areas get ‘stuck’, which leads to automatic playback of musical memories.
Some research suggests that people who have difficulty with working memory, such as those with attention deficit disorder, may have fewer earworms, while those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which these episodes play involuntarily in their brains, they may be more susceptible to earworms.Why Is A Certain Song Humming In Your Head ?.
To get rid of earworms, you can try to distract yourself, and engage in something else that requires the use of certain regions, circuits and functions of the brain, literally taking them in another direction. Source: Medical Express