Why Do Songs Keep Replaying in My Head?

Music has a tendency to get stuck in our heads. You know the experience – a tune intrudes on your thoughts and plays, and replays, in a never-ending loop.

Dr Vicky Williamson, a music psychologist and memory expert at Goldsmith’s College in London, found that scientists use a range of terms to describe the subject – stuck-song syndrome, sticky music, and cognitive itch, or most commonly “earworm” -a word which some people misunderstand. She identified a set of triggers that had apparently caused these tunes to pop into people’s heads and stay there.

“The first one is music exposure, which means the person has heard the music recently,” she says. Another unsurprising finding was that if you hear a song repeatedly, you’re more likely to get stuck with it. But sometimes songs pop into our heads even when we haven’t heard them for a long time. In this case, something in our current environment may trigger the memory. Another trigger she identified was stress.

Daniel Levitin of McGill University in Montreal, an expert in the neuroscience of music, says the combination of rhythm, rhyme, and melody provides reinforcing cues that make songs easier to remember than words alone. He says the main question people ask him about earworms is: “How do we turn them off?”

Levitin offers a piece of advice: “Just think of another song and hope that’ll push out the first one.” Both Levitin and Williamson agree that getting an unwanted tune out of your head is a relief. But of course the song that cures you might just end up being the next one that gets stuck.

Source: BBC News

Image: TLC

Google Search Announces Most Radical Change Ever

In a change that’s been called the “most radical transformation ever” to Google’s search engine, the Mountain View, California, company on Tuesday announced an update called “Search, plus Your World,” which causes Google’s robots to incorporate data from its social network as well as the public Internet when delivering search results to people.

On the prominent blog Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan writes that the updates fundamentally change the way Google’s search engine functions, calling it the “most radical” change ever.

“The new system will perhaps make life much easier for some people, allowing them to find both privately shared content from friends and family plus material from across the Web through a single search, rather than having to search twice using two different systems,” he writes.

“However, Search Plus Your World may cause some privacy worries, as private content may appear as if it is exposed publicly (it is not). It might also cause concern by making private content more visible to friends and family than those sharing may have initially intended.”

It’s worth noting that Google users who don’t like these new personal results can turn them off. A toggle switch that controls personal results should appear in the upper right corner of a search results page, the company says. Click “no personal results” to avoid seeing the social content. Google says the social search applies, for now, only to people who are signed in to Google.com and are searching in English.


Source: CNN

Image: It’s All Tech