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How tunes
get stuck
in your head



In a recent article published in Nature, scientists at Dartmouth College think they may have found what makes a tune catchy, after locating the brain area where a song's "hook" gets caught. They think their findings confirm that the areas of your brain that are responsible for processing specific senses are also where those sense memories are stored... So when you're listening to a familiar song, you're using a specific area of the brain, and when you're remembering that familiar song, you're using that specific area of the brain.

To find this they inserted gaps of silence into songs and scanned the subjects brains. They found that the brain had continued activity in the specific areas when the silence hit. And the catchier the song, the more vibrant the memory.

You can read the BBC article here.

And you can try the experiment on yourself. In the experiment they used Henry Mancini's "The Pink Panther Theme" and the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction".



From the article: "If the music went quiet during an instrumental song, like during the theme from the Pink Panther, individuals activated many different parts of the auditory cortex, going farther back in the processing stream, to fill in the blanks."

Here is Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme" with gaps (click here for mp3)



From the article: "When remembering songs with words, however, people simply relied on the more advanced parts of the auditory processing stream.

"It makes us think that lyrics might be the focus of the memory," said Mr Kraemer."


Listen to the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" with gaps, and see how that feels. (click here for mp3)

{article found via Swen's Awesome Blog of Awesome}

By the way, now that you have them in your head, you can find the original tunes here and here.