According to researchers at the University of Reading in Reading, Berkshire in the United Kingdom, if you want to ditch that song stuck in your head—chew gum. A new study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology reveals that silencing annoying “earworms” could very well be easier than previously thought. Buy a pack of your favorite gum.
Lead study author Dr. Philip Beaman said in an official statement: “If you are trying to rid yourself of an unwanted tune, it is less likely to pop up involuntarily when chewing.”
Past studies have noted that playing a game or reading a novel could help curb that catchy albeit repetitive song from playing over and over again in your head, this new study reveals that chewing gum works best because it can not only “dissuade distracted ears” but in some cases totally eliminate the thought process.
For this research project, the investigative team had 44 subjects listen to David Guetta featuring Flo Rida and Akon’s “Play Hard” two times. Participants were next asked to press a button each time the song “popped back into” their heads.
Next, they were instructed to repeat the same activity but while chewing gum. The results of the experiment demonstrated that the volunteers were actually more likely to press the button when they weren’t chewing gum.
Beaman explains: “After playing them the catchy tunes ‘Play Hard’ by David Guetta and ‘Payphone’ by Maroon 5, we asked (the subjects) to try not to think of the songs they had just heard over the next three minutes but to hit a key each time they did. In the chewing gum condition, volunteers reported thinking of and ‘hearing’ the song less often than in no-activity and finger-tapping control conditions.”
The research team also conducted a second experiment. This one used 18 volunteers. Each was asked their opinion of the music and if the song just continuously played in their heads. Again they discovered that chewing gum resulted in the volunteers thinking less about each song.
The final experiment involved observing 46 subjects after listening to Maroon 5’s song “Payphone”. For the third time the conclusion was the same. Volunteers thought about the song less when they were chewing gum.
Song Stuck In Your Head? Chew Gum