Every once in a while, Paul wakes up complaining of a particular song I’ve played the day before which has worked its way into his brain like a vile spirochete.
“I can’t get that damned song out of my head!” he says, and I feign sympathy.
So what? I think. I’ve got catchy music running through my head all the time. I rather enjoy it, and I can always switch the station or turn it off. But Paul apparently cannot.
The problem, of course, is “earworms” (a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm), which is a part of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one’s mind. Earworms are popular in advertising for obvious reasons. Research by the man who popularized the term, University of Cincinnati marketing researcher James Kellaris, has shown that 98% of individuals experience earworms to varying degrees. Men and women experience the phenomenon equally often, but earworms are more likely to last longer for women and to irritate them more than men.
(Next time Paul complains, I’ll have to tell him to stop acting like a girl.)
Here are some of my favorite instruments of torture guaranteed to set him off (listen at your own risk):
And, in my opinion, one of the all-time-wormiest earworms in modern history:
Groove of the Day
(Please leave your nomination for “most-earwormy” as a comment!)