Not a Worm but a Song Stuck in brain
Not a Worm but a Song Stuck in brainA Narrative Review of Infectious Music. JAMA, 331(13), 1075

Infectious Tunes: Understanding the Phenomenon of Earworms - A Song Stuck in the Brain

Review article based on recent studies

Earworms—A Narrative Review of Infectious Music

Earworms, a phenomenon where fragments of music repetitively play in one's mind, have intrigued both the public and the scientific community. Originating from the German word "Ohrwurm," these catchy tunes can become a persistent background track to our daily lives. Despite their ubiquity, understanding why certain melodies stick while others fade away has been a topic of considerable interest and research.

Recent studies led by A.J. Lees, MD, and Sarah Lawson, BSc, have delved deeper into the neurophysiological and clinical aspects of musical intrusions. Their research began from a unique case of a patient with temporal lobe epilepsy, who reported experiencing music in his head. This prompted a comprehensive review, incorporating a wide array of sources from the fields of psychology, humanities, and neuroscience, to explore the underlying mechanisms and potential triggers of earworms.

The literature suggests that earworms are common involuntary cognitive events that many experience weekly. These musical snippets often result from the subconscious activation of auditory memory, combined with the phonological loop in the brain's left primary auditory cortex. This loop acts as a short-term memory buffer for sounds, potentially explaining why certain tunes become 'stuck.'

Several characteristics have been identified that may contribute to a song becoming an earworm, including recent and repeated exposure to music, upbeat tempos, and simple, melodic contours. Additionally, the state of mind-wandering and an individual's mood at the time of exposure play crucial roles.

While generally harmless and often a source of amusement, earworms can become bothersome. Various strategies for dispelling these persistent tunes have been explored, from chewing gum to engaging in puzzles or listening to the song in full.

The differentiation between earworms, musical obsessions, and hallucinations is vital in understanding the spectrum of musical imagery. While earworms are benign, musical obsessions and hallucinations can signify underlying psychological or neurological conditions, demanding a more nuanced approach to treatment and understanding.

The fascination with earworms even captured the interest of the late Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist and author, who likened them to acoustic afterimages and explored their prevalence in modern life. Historical references to the phenomenon date back to literature from Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain, underscoring the long-standing human experience with involuntary musical imagery.

This recent study not only enriches our understanding of earworms but also highlights the complex interplay between music, memory, and the human brain. As research continues, the insights gained promise to shed light on both the scientific and cultural dimensions of these catchy, sometimes relentless, tunes that play in our heads.

For more on this fascinating subject, refer to the original article in JAMA, "The Arts and Medicine: Earworms—A Narrative Review of Infectious Music" by A.J. Lees, MD, and Sarah Lawson, BSc.

The mainstream media establishment doesn’t want us to survive, but you can help us continue running the show by making a voluntary contribution. Please pay an amount you are comfortable with; an amount you believe is the fair price for the content you have consumed to date.

happy to Help 9920654232@upi 

Related Stories

No stories found.
Buy Website Traffic
The Public Press Journal