Some songs are nice to have in your head, but any song will eventually overstay it’s welcome. Whether you like the tune or not, a recent study suggests that you can ban earworms from your mind just by chewing some gum.
Picture: Amy Moss
The study, from the University of Reading and published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, was comprised of three different experiments involving participants listening to very catchy songs and then trying to forget them. All three experiments suggested that chewing gum interfered with “articulatory motor programming” and helped participants knock the earworms out of their heads whether they were actively suppressing their thoughts about the song or not. Essentially, the action of chewing helped interrupt the conscious part of their brains that repeated the catchy songs over and over.
There’s no guarantee that this works for everyone, but there are other ways to ditch those horrible songs if some gum doesn’t do the job.
Want to block earworms from conscious awareness? B(u)y gum! [The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology via PsyBlog]