‘Can’t get you out of my head’: experimental induction of earworms through the manipulation of song catchiness and presentation volume

Orchard, Benjamin (2012). ‘Can’t get you out of my head’: experimental induction of earworms through the manipulation of song catchiness and presentation volume Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Orchard, Benjamin
Thesis Title ‘Can’t get you out of my head’: experimental induction of earworms through the manipulation of song catchiness and presentation volume
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Tim Byron
Total pages 78
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Earworms have been defined as a repeating piece of music lodged within one’s mind that cannot be easily removed (Beaman & Williams, 2010). It is a common experience, as research has found that 90% of people report at least one earworm weekly (Liikkanen, 2008). To date, there has been a focus upon the descriptive aspects of earworms (Bailes, 2007; Beaman & Williams, 2010; Halpern & Bartlett, 2010; Liikkanen, 2008) with Liikkanen (2012a) following this up with an attempt to implant earworms; but there were flaws in his methodology. Our study addresses these flaws with an alternate method of implantation. A property of music that has been suspected to cause earworms is catchiness (Beaman & Williams, 2010); operationalised as the repetition of distinctive, short phrases of music within a song, known as ‘hooks’. Pop songs that had not yet charted in Australia were analysed for the total number of hooks with songs possessing higher hook counts being classified as catchy by experienced musicologists. In this experiment, 41 undergraduate psychology students completed a reading comprehension task whilst listening to either catchy or less catchy songs. The attention to these songs was manipulated through the presentation volume (either 50dB or 70dB). Earworm occurrence was monitored over the 72 hours following song presentation with an experience-sampling method, where participants were to complete a form assessing earworm occurrence each time contacted. Earworm implantation was successful, such that some participants reported that the presented songs were implanted, however the manipulation of catchiness and presentation volume did not have a significant effect upon the number of implanted earworms. Further analysis found null results for liking the presented songs and musicality predicting the number of earworms. The implications of these results for the literature as a whole are then discussed.
Keyword Induction of earworms
Manipulation of song catchiness
Presentation volume

 
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Created: Thu, 07 Mar 2013, 14:14:58 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology