Monday, June 18, 2007

Do you ever get "stuck tune"?

…After the denoument of The Sopranos, accompanied by Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” people were as mad about the song invading their mind as they were (some of them) about the Lady and the Tiger ending.

…HA, personally? When Tony pushed K4 on the juke, it was saying all four would be killed, but what does HA know?

…Anywaaay, the Germans have a name describing a song that won’t leave your brain—Ohrwurm, or ear worm. Think of it burrowing in, clinging on.

…HA once wrote about this for CBS HealthWatch. A professor of marketing at the Univ of Cincinnati named James Kellaris, PhD., has studied “stuck tune syndrome.”

…He interviewed a thousand college kids at four univs and all of them had endured ST at one time or another (“School days, school days, good old…”).

…In 55% of cases, the tune had lingered only a few hours, but almost a fourth of them had hummed and twitched for a full day.

…The associations to music in the brain are very strong. We respond emotionally even before we consciously know we are listening.

…The brain also sops up music like mad. They have done experiments in which whole symphonies play in the minds of people who are touched on a certain part of the brain during surgery.

…Kellaris thinks ST may be a “brain itch,” comparable to a skin itch. The repeating is like scratching—making the itch worse.

…Some people with ST look at the tune as a separate entity—“Don’t fight it. That is what it wants you to do.”

…Songs you learned as a child can be especially persistent (“I’m a Little Teapot”).

…Atonality, like those five tones in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” can be “sticky.”

…What can you do if you get a case of ST? Try to give it to someone else…Tell them, hum the tune.

…OK, that’s mean.

…Suck on a cinnamon stick—try to replace one sense with another.

…No matter what, though—don’t stop believin’.

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