Tags: earworm | song | compulsive | thoughts | gum

Chewing Gum Gets Rid of Songs Stuck in Head: Study

By    |   Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:07 PM

Can't get that cheesy Barry Manilow or Carpenters song out of your head? Try chewing gum.

New research out of the University of Reading has found chewing gum after hearing annoyingly catchy tunes appears to help turn off those cloying “earworms.”

Lead researcher Phil Beaman, M.D., from the University's School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, suggested the findings may have broader implications. Chewing gum might, for instance, also help people reduce the frequency of intrusive negative thoughts or compulsive traumatic memories.

"The earworm phenomenon stretches back at least to the 19th century — Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain both referenced the experience in well-known works,” Dr. Beaman noted.

“The majority of us experience them for only short periods — perhaps just a few minutes — but others can experience them for two or three days which can be extremely frustrating and debilitating. We wanted to explore whether a simple act like chewing gum could help.”

The study involved 98 volunteers who listened to “Play Hard” by David Guetta and “Payphone” by Maroon 5, and were then asked to try not to think of the songs for three minutes afterward, but to indicate whenever they did.

The volunteers each participated in the experiment twice — once while chewing gum, once without it.

“In the chewing gum condition, volunteers reported thinking of and ‘hearing' the song less often,” Dr. Beaman said.

A recent poll suggested nine in 10 people experience “earworms” at least once a week — 15 percent classifying them as “disturbing.”

The study was published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

No comments were immediately available from Guetta or Marone 5.

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Can't get that cheesy Top 40 song out of your head? Try chewing gum. New research has found people who chewed gum after hearing annoyingly catchy tunes were better able to turn off the earworms' in their heads.
earworm, song, compulsive, thoughts, gum
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:07 PM
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