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Department of Cognitive Science

Seminar Abstract

Why is this song stuck in my head? The psychology of the ear worm experience.

Speaker : Dr Kelly Jakubowski, Department of Music , Durham University, UK.
Date : 22nd of November 2017, 11:00AM until 12:00PM
Location : Australian Hearing Hub, 3.610, Macquarie University.

    The spontaneous mental recall and repetition of music, known as involuntary musical imagery (INMI, or 'earworms'), is a frequent and pervasive experience in the Western world. Despite its ubiquity, music psychological inquiry into the mechanisms underlying the INMI experience is relatively recent. I will provide an overview of research developments from the past decade that have allowed us to explore the common triggers of INMI and contexts in which INMI is most likely to occur, individual differences in personality, musical background, and brain structure that predict the frequency and appraisal of INMI, and strategies for alleviating unwanted INMI. I will then present the results of two studies in which I have developed new methods for capturing the musical features of INMI episodes, and discuss how an increased understanding of the content of the imagined music itself can contribute toward explaining the diversity of experiences reported as INMI.

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