You Asked: Why Do Certain Songs Get Stuck in Your Head?

You can’t walk into the office without Rihanna’s voice singing “work work work work work work” in your head. And that one line from Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” still makes you want to scream. These are commonly known as earworm songs—those sticky tunes that continue to play in your head long after you wish you could skip to the next track. Experts call them “involuntary musical imagery.” And more than 90% of adults report hearing them on a weekly (if not daily) basis, finds a recent study in the journal Psychology of Music. While there’s a huge amount of person-to-person variation when it comes to these songs, they hang around for an average of 30 minutes, and they tend to be tunes with lyrics, not just instrumentation. Fortu...

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