I've always wondered how songs can get stuck in your head but today, as I was driving for three and a half hours back to the city from Benito, I began to contemplate it even more because I was in a less than desirable situation: I had no stereo, radio, or MP3 player.  
All I had were two songs that were stubbornly stuck (and rotating) in my head: The Darkness' I Believe in a Thing Called Love, and Kelly Clarkson's What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger (odd pairing, I know.)  I hadn't heard either of those songs on the weekend so I really started to wonder where these (random) songs came from and why they came into my head. Then I remembered one of the exhibits I've seen at the Saskatchewan Science Centre about smell.  The exhibit is a blind smell test, in the sense that you smell different scents without knowing what they are and you have to try to guess what they are.  The exhibit states that smell is linked to memories and emotions, meaning that you can recognize a smell based on where you were, who you were with, and/or how you felt when you first smelled it.  I wondered if the same could be true for hearing and having songs stuck in your head - do songs pop into your head based on what you're thinking about?

Once I got home, I started googling this whole songs-getting-stuck-in-your-head phenomena.  What I found out is that songs stuck in your head are referred to as "earworms" and that close to 90% of people experience earworms at least once a week.  Also, earworms apparently last longer and are more irritating for women.  But what causes earworms?  I came across this article that lists four possible reasons - one of which is 'memory triggers.'  So I guess my hypothesis was right!  But what was I thinking about that brought these songs to mind?  Well, as I was driving I was thinking back to my days as a creative writer at Hot 103 and QX 104 in Winnipeg and I realize that we used to play that song in the office in the mornings to get us energized for the day.  As for the Kelly Clarkson song, the only explanation I can think of is that I recently watched this inspirational video that really hit home with me that Lindsey Fuchs from my ECMP 355 class posted on her blog that is set to What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.  So I guess that video (and song) has been with me since then.   

It's really neat how memories can sub-consciously trigger our minds to push play.  I just wish my mind didn't like the repeat button so much.


5/16/2012 07:15:49 am

Great, now I have an earworm.

Also, nice use of links. It's something new bloggers don't think about.

5/16/2012 06:24:02 pm

Thanks Dean!... which earworm was it? I took Will Richardson's advice to use links in your blogs :)


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