The phenomenon of earworms: why do songs get stuck in the head?
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head and, no matter how hard you tried, you could not dislodge it? The song played on and on, whether you were loading the dishwasher, weaving in and out of traffic, or attempting to clear your mind at the start of yoga class. Variously called "earworms," "sticky songs" or "involuntary musical imagery," one study found that nearly 92% of people report having such an experience once a week or more frequently.
你是否曾经有过这样的经历：一段音乐的旋律在你的脑海里挥之不去，不管你怎么努力，都无法摆脱掉它？无论你是在往洗碗机里放盘子，还是在车流中穿梭，或是在瑜伽课上试图清除杂念，这段音乐一直在你的脑中循环往复。这种现象叫做“耳虫”（Earworms），也叫“粘人音乐”（Sticky Songs）或者“不自觉的音乐幻象”（Involuntary Musical Imagery）。一项研究发现，近92%的人每周都至少会有一次这样的体验。
But how do songs get stuck in our heads in the first place? In a study on 3000 people from 2016, researchers surveyed the popularity of earworms and used 83 different summaries of musical composition to figure out what makes a song more likely to be an earworm. The study shows earworms are usually faster, with a fairly generic and memorable melody. They also demonstrate unique intervals, such as leaps or repetitions that set them apart from just your ‘average’ pop song. Among the most popular earworm tunes in the study were Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue and Don't Stop Believing by Journey.
但是这些歌曲一开始是如何进入我们的大脑的呢？2016年，在一项针对3000人的研究中，研究人员调查了耳虫现象的流行情况，并通过83首不同类型的音乐作品，探究哪些些歌更容易成为耳虫。研究显示，耳虫歌曲通常节奏较快，旋律朗朗上口，令人难忘。它们还表现出独特的音程，如跳跃或重复，使它们不同于普通的流行歌曲。该研究发现排名耳虫神曲前三位的分别是Lady Gaga的《坏浪漫》、Kylie Minogue的《无法让你离开我的脑海》和Journey的《不要停止相信》。
In addition, it is a common assumption that earworms are generally songs that get more radio time and spend more time in the charts, which the study scientifically confirms, but it goes further in investigating the actual elements of the song that make it catchy in the first place.
Earworms can be triggered by hearing a few notes as you might expect, but it can also be triggered by seeing something related to the song. For example, if you see a man walking down the street wearing a red leather jacket, it’s possible that Thriller might pop into your head. According to researchers, two out of three people say that they get earworms, which is a positive experience and they enjoy it. But if you are the minority and cannot stand them, there are definitely some ways to get round it.
Fortunately, psychologists can provide some advice on how to deal with an uncontrollable mind. Consider the famous "White Bear Effect", which has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. For earworms, the solution may be the same. This is a part not under our control, so just sending in instructions to "shut up" is unlikely to be of much help (and has been shown to make it worse). Experts suggest that you can go on a music diet. If your mind is poisoned by Brittany Spears' Toxic, for instance, then try singing Kylie Minogue's Can't Get You Out Of My Head. Or if a song is stuck in your head, you just listen to it all way through. Because maybe you don’t know all the lyrics, but by listening to the tune, you may get some sort of completion.
幸运的是，心理学家对于不受控制的思绪提出了一些应对建议。想一想著名的“白熊效应”，即你越想忘记什么事，反而越会记住它。对于耳虫现象，解决方法可能也是一样的。它已经不受我们控制，所以仅仅发出“闭嘴”的指令很难有什么帮助（而且事实已经证明，这只会让情况更加糟糕）。专家建议可以试一下音乐疗法。例如，Brittany Spears的《中你的毒》一直在你的脑海里环绕不去，那么就试着唱唱Kylie Minogue的《无法让你离开我的脑海》。或者当耳虫来袭，你就索性把这首歌听完。因为你可能不知道全部的歌词，而聆听整首歌曲可以带给你某种完整感。
1. dislodge v. （把某物）强行去除，取出，移动
2. earworms n. 耳朵虫，洗脑音乐，余音绕梁（指某段音乐在脑中不断重复的现象）
3. composition n. （音乐、艺术、诗歌的）作品
4. generic adj. 一般的；普通的；通用的
5. chart n. 每周流行唱片排行榜
6. catchy adj. 悦耳易记的；引人注意的