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Earworm may also refer to the Helicoverpa zea (corn earworm) or the musician DJ Earworm.

Earworm, a calque of the German Ohrwurm, [1] is a term for a portion of a song or other musical material that repeats compulsively within one's mind, known colloquially as "music being stuck in one's head". Use of the English translation was popularized by James Kellaris and Daniel Levitin. Kellaris' studies demonstrated that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another.[2] The psychoanalyst Theodor Reik used the term haunting melody to describe the psychodynamic features of the phenomenon.[3] Another scientific term for the phenomenon, involuntary musical imagery, was suggested by the neurologist Oliver Sacks in 2007.[4]

There have been claims "that earworms may be songs or tunes that become stuck in the phonological loop, the part of the brain that rehearses verbal information in Baddeley's model of working memory. This usually happens when a person sings the song or hums the tune once and then repeats it in his or her mind." However, this information is not supported by any scientifically published information and was presented only as a guess of an unknown author.[5]

A "repetune" is a song or other musical piece stuck in one's mind. Wanted Words, a feature on CBC Radio One's This Morning hosted by Jane Farrow, also once asked listeners to invent a word for this phenomenon. Submitted entries included "aneurhythm" and "humbug".[6]

Medications that are used to treat Obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety can alleviate the symptoms of earworms.[7]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

  • Maim That Tune — a website that offers alternative tunes which, albeit annoying, are likely to drive any other tune from the victim's head.
  • Earworms — Software to enhance memory through song, designed by Aaron Koblin at UCLA D|MA.
  • Guardian Online Vadim Prokhorov on the pesky phenomenon of the ‘earworm’
  • Earworms — An auditory foreign language learning program, using catchy tunes to expedite the learning process and increase retention.
  • Oorwurm — Dutch link on Earworms.
  • Stanford University CCARH online Earworm submission page
  • Urban Dictionary — where "Urban Dictionary" shows several surfer-generated definitions of Earworm.
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