The only thing worse than a bad song is a song so eardrum-meltingly catchy that it burrows its way into your primary auditory cortex like a brain-eating amoeba. Suddenly you can’t even order your morning latte without tapping your thumbs to some unheard rhythm like a wino in some pre-code gangster film.
Well now, thanks to researchers at Western Washington University, there may be a way to erase Tay-Tay’s “You Belong With Me” from your soiled mind. According to Dr. Ira Hyman, a music psychologist who headed up the research, “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.”
According to the research, the best possible way to replace annoying songs with more agreeable thoughts is to solve puzzles, especially anagrams and Sudoku. Researchers performed a series of tests on volunteers by forcing them to complete mazes on pieces of paper while playing songs over and over and over until they were rooted deep within their long term memory. playing Sudoku or anagrams ended up reducing the recurrence of auditory memory. “Verbal tasks like solving anagrams or reading a good novel seem to be very good at keeping earworms out.”
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