Why do some peo­ple get ear­worms more than oth­ers?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q & A - ELLY FENLON,

Sur­veys have re­vealed that the more im­por­tant a per­son con­sid­ers mu­sic, the more likely they are to ex­pe­ri­ence ear­worms (catchy songs that play re­peat­edly through your mind). Psy­chol­o­gists con­sider ear­worms to be a spe­cific kind of ‘in­vol­un­tary mem­ory’, so th­ese as­so­ci­a­tions make sense – the more you think about, prac­tise, or lis­ten to mu­sic, the more chance that me­mories of those ex­pe­ri­ences will spring to mind of their own ac­cord. Per­son­al­ity is an­other rel­e­vant fac­tor, with peo­ple high in the trait of open-mind­ed­ness be­ing more prone to ear­worms (this is un­der­stand­able given that this trait cor­re­lates with time spent lis­ten­ing to mu­sic). An­other study found that peo­ple with less men­tal con­trol were no more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence ear­worms, although they did find them more dis­rup­tive and harder to stop.


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