Re: Fwd: The Science Behind the Song Stuck in Your Head

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 18:54:24 BST

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    From: Bill Spight <>
    Subject: Re: Fwd: The Science Behind the Song Stuck in Your Head
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    Dear Wade,

    > With all the tunes out there, why is it stuff like 'My Sharona' that
    > takes over our brains?
    > 2Dscience
    > October 7 2001
    > Warning: This article could be hazardous to your sanity. It contains
    > discussions of songs so diabolically annoying that merely reading their
    > titles--"It's a Small World," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "My
    > Sharona"--can cause them to get stuck in your head. Proceed at your own
    > risk.

    Thanks for the ref. :-)

    Also for the warning. I'll not read the article yet. Right now I'm
    enjoying Beethoven's 7th. Good old Ludwig Van! ;-)

    In his study of the social transmission (recall) of visual information
    in "Remembering", Bartlett notes that, unlike the focal parts of the
    pictures, trivial detail tended to be the most accurately reproduced
    material and the longest lived. He also said that that kind of
    phenomenon was already known in anthropology, and that it had been used
    to help determine cultural relationships. Relative unimportance seems to
    be a factor in memetic success. :-)

    There was a short story written, I believe, in the 50s called, "Nothing
    but Gingerbread Left." (Or something close to that.) It was about the
    idea of memetic attack (although not using the term, OC). The title
    comes from a marching cadence:

        Left! X
        Left! X
        Left a Wife with
        Seventeen Chidren in
        Starving conDition with
        Nothing but Gingerbread
        Left! X
        Left! X
        Left a Wife with

    Etc. (Stressed syllables are capitalized. The X's are unspoken.)

    In the final scene, Hitler has succumbed to the memetic attack, and is
    goosestepping around the room, going, "Left! Left! . . ." ;-)



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