Whether we like it or not, we’re all constant victims of the dreaded earmworm. Dastardly, unshakable pop songs by the likes of David Guetta, Carly Rae Jepsen or Maroon 5 that get stuck in our head while we’re trying to focus. It’s a pain in the butt. So much, in fact, that now scientists have studied a way to help prevent those annoyingly catchy tunes from constantly seeping into our consciousness. Their answer? Chew some gum.
According to the University of Reading’s research findings in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, chomping on gum can help prevent earworms. They say chewing gum interferes with “articulatory motor programming” (the motor skills involved in speech) and will break the formation of unwanted musical memories. Weird right?
After conducting experiments involving subjects chewing and not chewing gum while being exposed to the notorious earworm “Play Hard” by David Guetta, results showed that chewing significantly reduced how often people were thinking about the song and how often it was playing in their minds afterwards.
In another study to see whether any old motor activity would reduce the effect of earworms, subjects were told to either chew gum or tap their finger while listening to “Payphone” by Maroon 5. Results showed that the tapping fought off earworms far less than chewing on gum.
So that’s your lesson of the day music fans. Next time you can’t get a song out of your head, you better run out to the corner store and grab some gum.