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New Study Results Will Help You Expel Catchy Tunes From Your Treacherous Brain

Written by Marc Zanotti on March 25, 2013

A new scientific study has found that there are sure-fire ways to get that niggling hook out of your head once and for all but if you can’t then it might be your own fault – and not just because you genuinely love Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, guys.

As reported by The Telegraph, the study from Western Washington University’s psychology department has found that reading an interesting book or trying to solve some tough anagrams or number puzzles could be the key to expelling, for example, the chorus to Rebecca Black’s Friday from your thoughts.

Music psychologist Dr Ira Hyman explains that the trick to no longer humming the melody to Taylor Swift tunes and saving yourself the embarrassment of reciting the lyrics to anything by Ed Sheeran is to find just the right type of mental stimulation:

“The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge. If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head. Something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing.

“Likewise, if you are trying something too hard, then your brain will not be engaged successfully, so that music can come back. You need to find that bit in the middle where there is not much space left in the brain. That will be different for each individual.

“It is like a Goldilocks effect – it can’t be too easy and it can’t be too hard, it has got to be just right.”

So if you didn’t pay attention in maths class or keep up with that required reading in English, well, it could be that your lack of studying has condemned you to a long insufferable life of invasive catchy tunes by Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber – or maybe even worse than that – being stuck in your head with no chance of reprieve. So break out the Sudoku, slackers, it’s time to bone up on hook-crushing skillz.

It is Dr Hyman’s hope that his research will lead to practical methods of controlling other invasive thoughts triggered by obsessiveness or anxiety.

Some of the easiest songs to get stuck in your head (as used by the researchers)

Alejandro – Lady Gaga
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Single Ladies – Beyoncé
She Loves You – The Beatles
I Wanna Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
She Loves You – The Beatles
SOS – Rihanna
You Belong with Me – Taylor Swift

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