Asked by: Elly Fenlon, London
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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