Song Stuck in Your Head? We Know Why!

It can happen anywhere: while you’re on the way to work, trying to fall asleep, in class. Out of nowhere, a song starts playing on repeat in your head. Over, and over, and over again! Believe it or not, there’s a scientific reason behind this phenomenon.

A song fragment stuck in your head is called an ear worm. These audio-bugs tend to be clips of about 8 seconds from repetitive, catchy songs. The first research on ear worms was actually done at the University of Cincinnati with the goal of using them for corporate marketing – a commercial stuckin your head!

Scientists now speculate that ear worms occur due to music’s influence over brain activity. It’s likely that the more you hear the same song, the more likely you are to catch an ear worm. Dr. Victoria Williamson, a psychology and music expert, boils it down to this: “An ear worm is your brain singing.”

Want to keep your mind from belting out a tune you’d rather forget? Chew gum. That’s right; one recent study found that chewing gum can interrupt unwanted thoughts. If you can’t enjoy your ear worm, just grab a stick of spearmint.

Whether you just danced your booty off at a nightclub or finished an amazing Zumba® class, now you know why your favorite song is stuck in yourhead!


Jennifer Lauren

Jennifer Lauren is a Zumba® instructor from New York. She blogs about teaching Zumba® classes and all things fitness at



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